Pathfinder’s 5th Anniversary Reveals Big Future for Mars Exploration SpaceDaily

Five years ago on Friday, July 4, 1997, American flags dressed the nation in a giant Independence Day celebration. It was National Hot Dog Month, and an estimated 155 million hot dogs hit the grill that weekend alone. Space must have been on moviegoers minds, as the alien flick “Men in Black” took in a whopping $84 million during its holiday opening. How appropriate then that 192 million kilometers (119 million miles) away from Earth, there was even more to celebrate: NASA’s Mars Pathfinder mission had completed its seven-month journey by bouncing to a landing on Mars and opening up a whole new world of Mars exploration. The landing was a tremendous event at JPL, where mission controllers cheered, clapped and even shed tears over their success.