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This image shows the Mars Pathfinder lander and Rover.
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NASA/JPL

An Overview of the Mars Pathfinder Mission

The goal of the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) mission was to analyze the rocks and soil of Mars. The MPF was actually 2 parts, a lander and a rover. The lander stayed right where it landed while the rover named "Sojourner" could roam the surface.

In its study of the Martian terrain near the landing site, Pathfinder found sand dunes, pebbles, wind drifts and other evidences of a changing surface. MPF also had the chance to explore Martian weather.

There was great excitement when Pathfinder landed on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. That excitement continued throughout the mission as the Rover was highly successful in exploring the geology of Mars. NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission was last heard from on September 27, 1997. It did operate on the surface of Mars three times longer than expected! Overall, the Pathfinder mission handed scientists tons of new knowledge about Mars!

Last modified April 25, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA