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The Sojourner rover examines a Martian rock.
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JPL/NASA

Mars, Mars, Mars!
News story originally written on July 8, 1997

NASA's Pathfinder successfully landed on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. This marks the historic landing on Mars after more than 20 years.

The Mars Pathfinder has been hard at work. The imager located on the lander has already taken the "monster panorama", a complete image of the view about the lander. The Sojourner rover has set across the Martian terrain, becoming the first robotic vehicle to explore the surface of another planet. The rover is analyzing rocks near the lander.

The lander on Mars has already established communication with NASA. NASA knows the spacecraft's position on the surface and data about its entry and landing. Pathfinder measured the temperature to be minus 220 degrees Celsius (minus 64 degrees Fahrenheit) at the landing site. That's really cold! NASA has already received hundreds of new images of the rocky surface of Mars.

Some interesting tidbits have arisen from this mission already. One detail is Mattel's release of the Hot Wheels JPL Sojourner Mars Rover Action Pack. It is a toy version of the rover which has already traversed Mars. This points to the public's excitement for this space mission.

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