These images from NASA's Mars Pathfinder in 1997 show different type areas of rocks and soils on Mars; dark rock type and bright soil type. Seen here is the dark rock Barnacle Bill.

Type areas of rocks and soils. (A) Dark rock type and bright soil type: Shown is the dark rock Barnacle Bill. Reflectance spectra typical of fresh basalt and APXS spectra indicating more silica-rich basaltic andesite compositions characterize this type. These rocks are typically the small boulders and intermediate-sized cobbles at the Pathfinder site. The bright soil type is very common and in this case comprises Barnacle Bill's wind tail and much of the surround soil area. This soil has a high reflectance and a strongly reddened spectrum indicative of oxidized ferric minerals. (B) Bright rock type: Shown is the bright rock Wedge. Reflectance spectra typical of weathered basalt and APXS spectra indicating basaltic compositions characterize this type. These rocks are typically larger than 1 meter in diameter and many display morphologies indicating flood deposition. (C) Pink rock type: Shown is the pink rock Scooby Doo. APXS and reflectance spectra indicate a composition and optical characteristics similar to the drift soil. However, the morphology of the pink rock type indicates a cemented or rocklike structure. This material may be a chemically cemented hardpan that underlies much of the Pathfinder site. (D) Dark soil type: The dark soil type is typically found on the windward sides of rocks or in rock-free areas like Photometry Flats (shown here) where the bright soil has been striped away by aeolian action or in open areas. Other locations include the Mermaid Dune. (E) Disturbed soil type: The darkening of disturbed soil relative to its parent material, bright soil, as a result of changes in soil texture and compaction caused by movement of the rover and retraction of the lander airbag. (F) Lamb-like soil type: This soil type shows reflectance and spectral characteristics intermediate between the bright and dark soils. Its distinguishing feature is a weak spectral absorption near 900 nanometers not seen in either the bright or dark soils.

NOTE: original caption as published in Science magazine

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).

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.

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