Pathfinder
July 4, 1997

 


 

Mars Pathfinder lands on the surface of Mars, carrying the first rover to another planet.
Originally designed as a technology demonstration for delivering an instrumented lander and a free-ranging robotic rover to the surface of the red planet, Pathfinder not only accomplishes this goal but also returns an unprecedented amount of data and outlives its
primary design life.

The lander, formally named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station following its successful touchdown, and the rover, named Sojourner after American civil rights crusader Sojourner Truth, both outlive their design lives -- the lander by nearly three times, and the rover by 12 times.

By the final data transmission on September 27, the mission returns 2.3 billion bits of information, including more than 16,500 images from the lander and 550 images from Sojourner, as well as more than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil and extensive data on winds and other weather factors.

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