This image was taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) about one minute after sunset on Mars on Sol 21. The prominent hills dubbed "Twin Peaks" form a dark silhouette at the horizon, while the setting sun casts a pink glow over the darkening sky. The image was taken as part of a twilight study which indicates how the brightness of the sky fades with time after sunset. Scientists found that the sky stays bright for up to two hours after sunset, indicating that Martian dust extends very high into the atmosphere.
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.