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Pathfinder Science Results Are In!
News story originally written on July 28, 1997

The Mars Pathfinder just completed its third week on the surface of Mars. The mission has already shown itself to be extremely successful. In fact, the Pathfinder mission has completed all of its primary science goals and is still operating flawlessly.

A lot of data was returned in the last week and Pathfinder project scientists are starting to release some science findings. One such finding is the diversity of the rocks located very near the lander. There are many rocks of varying color and varying composition.

Although the rocks surrounding the lander show much diversity, the soil in the area does not. In fact, the three Sojourner anaylses are all quite similar to past Viking soil samples taken over 1000 kilometers away from the Pathfinder landing area. This shows that the soil layer on Mars is the same even in different parts of the planet. This is probably the result of many years of mixing by the Martian winds. As a result, the Sojourner rover will concentrate on testing rocks for the rest of the mission.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF