The Pathfinder landing represented humanities return to the Martian surface. The July 4, 1997 landing came nearly fifteen years after the 1982 loss of the Viking 1 lander. The mission, which functioned for almost three months on the surface, was primarily a technology test. It used a new landing system, which used airbags to cushion a relatively hard landing. It also carried a microrover, Sojourner. The Pathfinder mission was originally conceived to pathfind for a network of Mars landers known as the Mars Environmental Survey, or MESUR. MESUR was cancelled soon after the Mars Observer failure, but NASA administrator Dan Goldin saw the Pathfinder lander as a potential flagship for NASA's new series of inexpensive planetary missions, the Discovery series. The addition of the Sojourner rover was intended to test the viability of microrovers in planetary exploration.
This page will contain a collection of images obtained by Pathfinder. In addition, the link below contains images from Sojourner's adventure. I entitled it "A Crawl On Mars" because the images were obtained from just a bit higher off the surface than a toddler crawling, and the distance covered is similar to the distance a child might crawl around the yard, covering about 100 meters in total and, at its farthest, venturing 12 meters from the lander. Also, the name is a take-off on A Walk On Mars, Nico Taelman's superb site, featuring the adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, Sojourner's successors, which have collectively traveled over 10 kilometers.
A Crawl On Mars
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