This image of the Martian surface was taken in the afternoon of Mars Pathfinder's first day on Mars. Taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP camera), the image shows a diversity of rocks strewn in the foreground. A hill is visible in the distance (the notch within the hill is an image artifact). Airbags are seen at the lower right.
The IMP is a stereo imaging system with color capability provided by 24 selectable filters -- twelve filters per "eye." It stands 1.8 meters above the Martian surface, and has a resolution of two millimeters at a range of two meters.
Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator.
Photojournal note: Sojourner spent 83 days of a planned seven-day mission exploring the Martian terrain, acquiring images, and taking chemical, atmospheric and other measurements. The final data transmission received from Pathfinder was at 10:23 UTC on September 27, 1997. Although mission managers tried to restore full communications during the following five months, the successful mission was terminated on March 10, 1998.