Hitching a ride on the Mars Pathfinder mission, the Sojourner rover arrived at the Red Planet on July 4, 1997. The mission was designed to demonstrate a low-cost method for delivering a set of science instruments to Mars, and served as the foundation for the Mars rovers of today.

Pathfinder landed the rover using an air bag landing system and innovative petal design, which have been used since in various incarnations to land other rovers on the Red Planet. Sojourner spent 83 days of a planned seven-day mission exploring the Martian terrain, snapping photographs and taking chemical, atmospheric and other measurements.

The lander, formally named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station following its successful touchdown, and the rover, named after civil rights pioneer Sojourner Truth, both outlived their design lives — the lander by nearly three times, and the rover by 12 times. Mars Pathfinder returned 2.3 billion bits of information, including more than 16,500 images from the lander and 550 images from the rover, as well as more than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil and extensive data on winds and other weather factors.

This panoramic view of Pathfinder’s Ares Vallis landing site shows Sojourner rover is the distance. The Mars Pathfinder mission completed the last successful data transmission cycle at 6:23 a.m. EDT on Sept. 27, 1997.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

1997年7月4日,旅居者号探测器搭乘火星探路者号到达火星。该任务旨在演示一种低成本的向火星运送科学仪器的方法,并为今天的火星漫游车提供了基础。

探路者号使用了安全气囊着陆系统和创新的花瓣设计,这在后来的各种版本中被用于其他火星漫游车登陆火星。旅居者号计划在火星上进行为期七天的探索,他花了83天时间探索火星地形、拍摄照片,并进行化学、大气和其他测量。

着陆器在成功着陆后被正式命名为卡尔·萨根纪念站,而火星车则以民权先驱索杰纳·特鲁斯的名字命名,两者都比设计寿命长了近三倍,火星车比设计寿命长了12倍。火星探路者发回了23亿比特的信息,包括着陆器发回的超过1.65万张图片和探测器发回的550张图片,以及超过15份对岩石和土壤的化学分析,以及关于风和其他天气因素的大量数据。

探路者的Ares Vallis着陆点的全景图显示旅居者号火星车的距离。1997年9月27日美国东部时间6时23分,火星探路者号完成了最后一次数据传输。

影像来源:NASA/JPL

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