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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mars Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner Rover

This shot is of the full-size Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner Rover model, built by JPL, that is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Since they are on Mars, it would be pretty difficult to get a shot of the real one!)

I recently had the chance to watch the film "Roving Mars" which discusses in great detail the complexity of landing rovers on Mars and how they performed much better than anticipated. The film covered the two subsequent rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, although they were very similar to Sojourner.

Sojourner made a successful landing on Mars on 4 July 1997, marking the first landing on Mars since the Viking landers in 1976. Unfortunately, communication with Sojourner was lost on 27 September 1997 and was never regained. It is pretty amazing to look at everything that had to be done for these missions and how well the Mars rover missions have performed to date. I hope you enjoy the photo!

Mars Rover

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