One of the earliest Mars images was a digitally reconstructed paint-by-numbers.

by David Ng


“A “real-time data translator” machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. The completed image was framed and presented to JPL director, William H. Pickering. Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars.”


Close up (Dan Goods)


Color Key (Spencer Mishlen)


Side by side comparison of drawn image and actaul image (JPL/Caltech)

Text and images from NASA/JPL/Dan Goods, via Wired.