Mars Pathfinder / Sojourner Rover

Mission Summary

The Mars Pathfinder mission, designed to demonstrate a low-cost method for delivering a set of science instruments to the Red Planet, was the first wheeled vehicle to be used on any other planet in the solar system and served as the foundation for the Mars rovers of today.

The mission landed a rover -- Sojourner -- on the surface of Mars 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.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Mars Pathfinder lander (Carl Sagan Memorial Station):
- Image for Mars Pathfinder (IMP)
- Atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology Package (ASI/MET)

Sojourner rover:
- Alpha/Proton/X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)
- Rover imaging cameras


Type: Lander/Rover
 
Status: Past
 
Launch Date: December 04, 1996
1:58 a.m. EST (06:58 UTC)
 
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
 
Landing Date: July 04, 1997
16:56 UTC
 
Mission End Date: September 27, 1997
 
Target: Mars
 
Destination: Ares Vallis, Mars
 
This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring NASA Mars Spacecraft Prepare for Close Comet Flyby

› Read more

Rotating Shape Model of Rosetta's Comet Target Surface impressions of Rosetta's comet

› Read more

Surface-water depletion in the Colorado River Basin has left this Parched West Is Using Up Underground Water: NASA/UCI

› Read more