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Update! I've just run across the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory video Five Ways Mariner 4 Changed Mars Exploration and it mentions this "paint by numbers" representation of "the first digital image of Mars from space". Perhaps with these photos, the "space artists" can be recognized?

This video is the intro to the longer video of the Von Karman lecture 1965: Discovery at Mars by Baggett, on the same channel. This video contains extensive file footage of people involved in Mariner 4.

Mariner 4 "paint by numbers" space artists

Mariner 4 "paint by numbers" space artists


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above: "A "real-time data translator" machine converted Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Voyager Telecommunications Section attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand-colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture." From Space.com's Mariner 4: First Spacecraft to Mars. Credit: NASA


The COSMOS Magazine article First mission to Mars: Mariner 4’s special place in history July 14, 1965, forever changed the way we see Mars. Tim Wallace looks back at one of NASA’s greatest triumphs recounts some of the excitement that NASA scientists and engineers must have felt during:

...humanity’s first up-close encounter with the Red Planet on July 14, 1965, when the pioneering Mariner 4 spacecraft took the first detailed photographs of the Martian surface, paving the way for future missions to successfully land a probe on the ground.

Remember, this is several years before the first Moon landing!

One of the many interesting images in the article is this the photo shown below.

Question: Who were the "space artists" who were essentially doing this (possibly the world's first) paint by numbers rendition of Mars.

Digital image data transmitted by Mariner was converted by a "real-time data translator" into numbers printed on thin strips of paper. Too impatient to wait for the official processed image, members of the telecommunications section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manually arranged the strips and hand-coloured the numbers to produce the above picture. The completed image was subsequently framed and presented to JPL’s director, William Pickering.

Mariner-4 hand-colored image

above: "A hand-rendered picture from data transmitted by Mariner 4, made by eager scientists who didn’t want to wait for the official image. CREDIT: NASA / JPL-CALTECH / DAN GOODS" From COSMOS Magazine.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for specific names? $\endgroup$
    – Prakhar
    Apr 8 '18 at 4:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Prakhar ideally, yes. The article ays "eager scientists" from the "telecommunications section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory" so anything more than that would be great. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 8 '18 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ Slightly related How to understand this complicated plot for Mariner 4's mid-course correction (to Mars)? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 30 '18 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ They are definitely engineers who were working on the mission and not artists specifically hired to make this image. Dan Goods (in the credit of the last image) is the head of the Studio at JPL which manages creative projects related to art and design. $\endgroup$
    – jezero
    May 3 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ Oh wow, I never knew. This is so interesting. $\endgroup$
    – user39728
    May 15 at 17:43
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I have finally tracked it down! In a recent question: Do Mariner 4 Hand Rendered Images Still Exist here, this was linked: http://www.directedplay.com/first-tv-image-of-mars

In it we have this quote from Dan Goods who, as Jezero mentioned, is head of the Studio at JPL which manages creative projects:

I was able to interview Richard “Dick” Grumm, who is the one who made the image (his initials “RLG” can be seen in the lower right hand corner)

So in answer to your question, it was Richard Grumm and his team. He was the one that went to the local art store to get the pastels used.

It also has some truly amazing details, like the fact that they didn't even mean to use red! They just wanted a greyscale color palate but didn't have chalk.

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    $\begingroup$ Yep, there it is! i.stack.imgur.com/rCdUD.jpg What a wonderful answer, thank you for being so persistent (or at least observant) and tracking this down! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 12 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ My pleasure, I tried briefly at the time but couldn't find anything, and then suddely the link was posted and there it was! $\endgroup$
    – Freddie R
    May 12 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Just bumping this for you to mark as correct if there's no other information you want. If there is, I can go looking again, but the specific other engineers' names seem to be lost to passage of time. (Thanks for the bounty too!) $\endgroup$
    – Freddie R
    May 17 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ Here's my thinking; great answers (and more so those by modest reputation point authors) deserve all the views and recognition they can get. Adding a bounty bumps the page into the active queue and more people see it. Awarding the bounty does that again, and clicking accept does that a third time. I have more reputation than I want or need so I'm not doing this for my benefit, but I deliberately spread these actions out in time to maximize the page views and the number of people who will therefore benefit from reading your wonderful answer. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 17 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ Ahh I see, I had suspected there was a reason, but I didn't know enough about the inner workings to discern exactly what it was. Thank you for being so thoughtful. I've browsed this site for a while but I figured it was time to get stuck into answering, so I'll take whatever boosts I can get at the beginning to establish myself. $\endgroup$
    – Freddie R
    May 18 at 0:14

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