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.
This Independence Day marks the fifth anniversary since NASA’s Mars Pathfinder, carrying its rover Sojourner, landed on the Red Planet. The probe sent back some of the most memorable pictures ever taken of another planet, including this panoramic view of the Pathfinder landing site.
Scientists have found “intriguing” new evidence that may indicate there is life on Mars. An analysis of data obtained by the Pathfinder mission to the Red Planet in 1997 suggests there could be chlorophyll – the molecule used by plants and other organisms on Earth to extract energy from sunlight – in the soil close to the landing site.
Martian commute Everett Herald
In Fran Hartman’s fourth-grade class at Cedar Wood Elementary School, lessons from Mars are more than a string of facts gleaned from the Internet. They include a land rover driven over the femur and fibula to simulate the red planet’s rocky terrain. What better way to learn about exploration on Mars than having as a guest lecturer the first person to ever drive on another planet.
Mars Pathfinder is filling in new NASA ‘donut picture’ Spaceflight Now
By combining three image mosaics, scientists have generated a donut-shaped picture with an overhead view of NASA’s highly successfull and hugely popular Mars Pathfinder lander and Sojourner rover on the surface of the Red Planet.
Can a spacecraft that touched down on Mars in 1997 help find the lost Polar Lander? Hoping the answer is yes, NASA has aimed a camera orbiting the red planet on the landing site of the Mars Pathfinder. Besides providing the highest resolution images ever of the spot — the space agency released those images this week — the photo shoot could help scientists focus the lens on the area where the Mars Polar Lander disappeared.
Shaping Martian Rocks New York Times
When the Pathfinder mission beamed images from the surface of Mars two years ago, Yogi, Stimpy and Flat Top were among the stars of the show. They were not characters in some Three Stooges remake; they were rocks at the landing site, and the mission’s remote-controlled rover spent a lot of time photographing, X-raying and otherwise examining them.
Challenging the combined wisdom of the Mars Pathfinder science teams isn’t what Friedrich Horz anticipated last summer he would ever do.
Roving over Mars Mechanical Engineering Magazine
Operating nearly 125 million miles from home, the Sojourner rover had to be very reliable and highly mobile to forge a path along the Martian surface.
Pathfinder Opens New Era Of Exploration SpaceDaily
It’s been two years since the Pathfinder spacecraft bounced to a stop on the surface of the Ares Valley on Mars, released its toy-sized but highly competent rover Sojourner, and inaugurated a major change in the way we explore the Solar System.