Looking Down on Mars Pathfinder

Mars Pathfinder on the surface of Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaRemember the Mars Pathfinder? That plucky little rover that crawled around the surface of Mars back in 1997? Well, the new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s powerful camera has found it again on the Martian terrain. It’s time to relive those days of early Martian exploration.

The photo attached to this story was taken by MRO of the entire landing site. The original photo is 4000 x 4000 pixels, but I’ve clipped down the parts that include the lander. The full image also contains the heatshield, parachute and backshell.

Pathfinder landed on Mars on July 4, 1997, and lasted for about 3 months. The tiny Sojourner rover wandered around the lander, analyzing rocks and transmitting pictures back to Earth using the Pathfinder lander as a relay.

NASA scientists will be able to use this image to recreate the lander’s descent, to improve their calculations of the Martian atmosphere, spacecraft performance, and operation of the landing system.

Original Source: HIRISE News Release