NASA's Mars Pathfinder's forward rover ramp can be seen successfully unfurled in this image, taken at the end of July 5, 1997 (Sol 2) by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP).

Mars Pathfinder's forward rover ramp can be seen successfully unfurled in this image, taken at the end of Sol 2 by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP). This ramp was not used for the deployment of the microrover Sojourner, which occurred at the end of Sol 2. Sojourner can be seen still latched to one of the lander's petals, waiting for the command sequence that would execute its descent off of the lander's petal. The imager helped Pathfinder scientists determine whether to deploy the rover using the forward or backward ramps and the nature of the first rover traverse.

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.

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.

View all Images