Remembring Mars pathfinder Mission

Remembring Mars pathfinder Mission

Hitching a ride on the Mars Pathfinder mission, the Sojourner rover arrived at the Red Planet on July 4, 1997. The mission was designed to demonstrate a low-cost method for delivering a set of science instruments to Mars, and served as the foundation for the Mars rovers of today.

Pathfinder landed the rover using an air bag landing system and innovative petal design, which have been used since in various incarnations to land other rovers on the Red Planet. Sojourner spent 83 days of a planned seven-day mission exploring the Martian terrain, snapping photographs and taking chemical, atmospheric and other measurements.

The lander, formally named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station following

its successful touchdown, and the rover, named after civil rights

pioneer Sojourner Truth, both outlived their design lives — the lander

by nearly three times, and the rover by 12 times. Mars Pathfinder

returned 2.3 billion bits of information, including more than 16,500

images from the lander and 550 images from the rover, as well as more

than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil and extensive data on winds

and other weather factors.

This panoramic view of Pathfinder's Ares Vallis landing site shows

Sojourner rover in the distance. The Mars Pathfinder mission completed

the last successful data transmission cycle at 6:23 a.m. EDT on Sept.

27, 1997.

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