The "Big Crater" is actually a relatively small Martian crater to the southeast of the Mars Pathfinder landing site. It is 1500 meters (4900 feet) in diameter, or about the same size as Meteor Crater in Arizona. Superimposed on the rim of Big Crater (the central part of the rim as seen here) is a smaller crater nicknamed "Rimshot Crater." The distance to this smaller crater, and the nearest portion of the rim of Big Crater, is 2200 meters (7200 feet). To the right of Big Crater, south from the spacecraft, almost lost in the atmospheric dust "haze," is the large streamlined mountain nicknamed "Far Knob." This mountain is over 450 meters (1480 feet) tall, and is over 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the spacecraft. Another, smaller and closer knob, nicknamed "Southeast Knob" can be seen as a triangular peak to the left of the flanks of the Big Crater rim. This knob is 21 kilometers (13 miles) southeast from the spacecraft.
The larger features visible in this scene - Big Crater, Far Knob, and Southeast Knob - were discovered on the first panoramas taken by the IMP camera on the 4th of July, 1997, and subsequently identified in Viking Orbiter images taken over 20 years ago. The scene includes rocky ridges and swales or "hummocks" of flood debris that range from a few tens of meters away from the lander to the distance of South Twin Peak. The largest rock in the nearfield, just left of center in the foreground, nicknamed "Otter," is about 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) long and 10 meters (33 feet) from the spacecraft.
This view of Big Crater was produced by combining 6 individual "Superpan" scenes from the left and right eyes of the IMP camera. Each frame consists of 8 individual frames (left eye) and 7 frames (right eye) taken with different color filters that were enlarged by 500% and then co-added using Adobe Photoshop to produce, in effect, a super-resolution panchromatic frame that is sharper than an individual frame would be.
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 a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The 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.