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Pathfinder Images


This page contains a large number of the Mars Pathfinder images. Additional information can be found at the following locations:


deimos.gif: Deimos
This image shows Mars' smaller moon, Deimos, as it appeared to Mars Pathfinder on its third night after landing. Deimos is actually only about two IMP pixels across -- it looks bigger because a set of low resolution, compressed images (that is, they were blurry) was returned to Earth. Observations of Deimos are used to determine its spectrum and composition. Deimos is difficult to observe from Earth or the Hubble Space Telescope because it is always very close to Mars.
suns.gif: Sun Observations
Our observations of the Sun using the IMP camera showed more dust in the martian atmosphere than was expected. In fact, the amount of dust ("optical depth" of 0.4, to scientists) was comparable to Viking observations during clear (non-dust-storm) times. The measurements were made by taking images of the Sun with different colors and with the Sun at different elevations in the sky. As the Sun goes lower in the sky the light passes through more and more dust, becoming fainter and fainter, and allowing the amount of dust to be measured.
sunset.gif: Sunset
On Mars, the dust intercepts essentially the same amount of sunlight in different colors. The reddish color of the sky is because the blue light is absorbed by the dust, but the red light is scattered throughout the sky. By contrast, the molecules in the Earth's atmosphere intercept about as much of the blue sunlight as the Mars dust does, because blue light is scattered easily by Earth's atmosphere (and red light is not, giving the Earth its blue sky).

In future days, scientists will monitor the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and they will try to measure absorption by water vapor with a similar technique. Using other observations of the sky, scientists will measure the size and shape of the dust particles and try to determine how high in the atmosphere the dust extends. On some days, IMP will perform a cloud search, looking for clouds passing over the landing site. The Hubble Space Telescope will also observe Mars on some of the same days, so large clouds--if they are present--may be seen simultaneously from the Earth and from Mars.

81314_full.jpg: Sojourner in Contact With Yogi
Sojourner has made contact with the rock Yogi in this image, taken with the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) at 8:45 p.m. PDT on Sol 6. The rover's left rear wheel has driven up onto the Yogi's surface in an attempt to get as close as possible to the rock's surface. Sojourner will later use its Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument to conduct a study of Yogi's chemical composition.
A view from the Sojourner rover's rear color camera showing wheel tracks in the orange-red martian soil.
Another color image from the rover with a close-up view of Yogi.
One of Sojourner's two front cameras took this image of the Sagan Memorial Station on Sol 6. The lander and its deployed rear ramp are at upper left, while several large rocks appear at center. Sojourner was near the large rock Yogi when this image was taken.
landsitemos.jpg: Landing Site Mosaic
The latest pinpointing of the Mars Pathfinder Landing Site.
81126_full.jpg: The Monster Panorama
The large rock seen in the background of this image is Yogi. The front right rock has been plowed by the rover, and deformation by the rover wheel is evident.
The same rock seen at lower right in the previous image is seen here with a rover wheel in the foreground for comparison.
This area of soil in front of Yogi will be investigated by the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer.
This image of Yogi was taken in poor lighting conditions. Scientists have planned to image Yogi in better light in order study its texture close up.
This red color image of the rover wheel was taken prior to soil mechanics tests.
This is a red-color image of the rover wheel and the indentation that the wheel has made on the soil.
The APXS is shown in the end of Sol 4 image of the rover placed against the soil at the base of Yogi.
A portion of the color "monster panorama" showing the front (or left) ramp and part of the low-gain antenna.
Here we see Wedge and Flat Top imaged in color as part of the "monster panorama".
A color version of the image of the rover as it left the rear (or right) ramp.
Yogi in the background of the image. The light colored rim of material in front of Yogi may possibly be evaporation deposits from ancient water puddled on the surface.
In the foreground are the airbags, and to the left are more hypothesized evaportion deposits.
Casper, the light colored rock in the middle left of this image, is a prime target for the APXS. The disturbed soil in the lower right of this image was caused by the retraction of the airbags.
Rocks and intersting textures of the Martian surface are imaged above.
The large rock to the upper right of the airbags in this image, appears to be riddled with many cracks.
The Atmospheric Structure/Meterology Instrument mast is standing straight up in this image. The wind socks are hanging vertically, indicating that the winds are light. ASI/MET scientists report that winds measurements have yet to exceed 10 mph. The apprent offset of the mast in this image is caused by parallax.
These are the tracks created by the Sojurner Rover as it maneuvered toward "Barnacle Bill". This rock was the first examined by the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer.
81000_full.jpg: Barnacle Bill
This image shows the Sojurner Rover conducting its examination of "Barnacle Bill" with the APXS. The images was taken by the fully deployed (1.8 meters) IMP camera.
This is one of the first images taken by one of the three forward-facing rover cameras. It shows the partially deflated airbags and, in the upper right corner, the high gain antenna.
81006_full.jpg: Flat Top
In this image is the rectangular rock dubbed "Flat Top" by Pathfinder scientists. The surface of this rock appears to be covered by dust.
81007_full.jpg: Twin Peaks
The two hills in the distance, approximately one to two kilometers away, have been dubbed the "Twin Peaks" and are of great interest to Pathfinder scientists as objects of future study. The white areas on the left hill, called the "Ski Run" by scientists, may have been formed by hydrologic processes.
81008_full.jpg: Sojourner
Sojourner is visible in this image, one of the first taken by the deployed Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on Sol 3. The rover has moved from this position into one that later facilitated its using the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument on Barnacle Bill. The APXS, located at the rear of the rover, is not visible in this image.
81009_full.jpg: Yogi Rock
Yogi, a rock taller than rover Sojourner, is the subject of this image, taken by the deployed Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on Sol 3. The soil in the foreground will be the location of multiple soil mechanics experiments performed by Sojourner's cleated wheels. Pathfinder scientists will be able to control the force inflicted on the soil beneath the rover's wheels, giving them insight into the soil's mechanical properties.
81010_full.jpg: Couch Rock
This new view of the rock dubbed "Couch" was taken by the deployed Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on Sol 3. Earlier images, taken by the undeployed IMP, hinted that Couch was balanced upon the rectangular rock approximately three-quarters of the way up from the bottom of the image. The deployed IMP, standing 1.8 meters above the Martian surface, has now revealed Couch to be a free-standing object positioned at the Martian horizon.
Portions of Sojourner's Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), a deployment spring, and the rock Barnacle Bill are visible in this color image. The image was taken by Sojourner's rear camera, and shows that the APXS made good contact with Barnacle Bill.
Taken on July 5, this image shows portions of the high gain antenna, a petal, and the retracted airbags. Geologists are eager to examine the rocks of the Ares Vallis terrain. As predicted, the landing site has provided a grab bag of diverse rock types and sizes.
This image was taken on July 5 by the IMP camera. The flat, table-like rock appears to be covered with dust. The rock also displays many interesting linear features. The large rocks in the background are intriguing because of their impressive textures.
This image of the rear (or right) ramp was taken by the IMP camera on July 5, 1997. This ramp was used to deploy the rover.
Both the front and rear rover deployment ramps have been deployed. This image shows the front (or left) ramp. The ramps both measure 1 m in length.
This image was taken by the IMP camera before the rover ramps were deployed. The smaller rock in the left portion of the image, named Barnacle Bill, will be the first rock examined by the rover's Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).
In the front left of this image is the site of the first measurements taken by the APXS. Over the cold martian night, the rover examined this soil and will transmit the data back to Earth via the lander later this afternoon, July 6.
This image shows the diversity of rocks at the Ares Vallis site. The large rocks seem to lean in a uniform direction (imbrication). This observation suggests that catastrophic floods once ran through the site. Seen on the horizon is a faint peak.
Named Twin Peaks, the formation of two hills in the background are of extreme geological interest. The left hill has a smooth apron which may have been caused by gravitational processes or water. The hill on the right seems to have horizontal bands running through it. As of yet unidentified, the bands may be deposits, sedimentary layers, or terraces cut by erosion.

The twin peaks in the distant are approximately 1 mile from the Sagan Memorial Station. The rocks in the foreground are very diverse. Some are rounded and suggest transport by water, others are tabular and angular and indicate non-aqueous deposition. Preliminary hypotheses by Pathfinder geologists are that the angular rocks were thrown from ancient, nearby impact crater sites.

"Six wheels on soil!" This image was taken by the IMP camera on July 5, 1997. Sojourner's descent down the rear rover deployment ramp was successful. The microrover's seven month journey from Earth to Mars is complete. The soil beneath Sojourner (with tracks showing behind the right rear wheel) will be the first target of the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer.
This 360-degree photomosaic was taken by the IMP camera on July 4, 1997. The foreground is dominated by the lander, newly entitled the Sagan Memorial Station. All three petals have been fully deployed. Upon one of the petals is the Sojourner microrover in its stowed position. The metallic cylinders at either end of Sojourner are the rover deployment ramps. Visible at the rear end (right) of the rover is the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer. Located to the right of the center petal is a dark, circular object and a bright, metallic object. Both are components of the high gain antenna. The black post, bull's-eye rings, and small shaded blocks in the far right portion of the image are components of the calibration targets.

Terrain of Ares Vallis is in the background. The sections of soil and the large rocks surrounding the Sagan Memorial Station will provide the rover with numerous opportunities to employ the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer. The prominent hills in the background will aid scientists in determining the exact site of the Sagan Memorial Station.

The Sojourner rover and undeployed ramps onboard the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft can be seen in this image, by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on July 4 (Sol 1). This image has been corrected for the curvature created by parallax. The microrover Sojourner is latched to the petal, and has not yet been deployed. The ramps are a pair of deployable metal reels which will provide a track for the rover as it slowly rolls off the lander, over the spacecraft's deflated airbags, and onto the surface of Mars. Pathfinder scientists will use this image to determine whether it is safe to deploy the ramps. One or both of the ramps will be unfurled, and then scientists will decide whether the rover will use either the forward or backward ramp for its descent.
Several prominent features of Mars Pathfinder and surrounding terrain are seen in this image, taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder on July 4 (Sol 1), the spacecraft's first day on the Red Planet. Portions of a lander petal are at the lower part of the image. At the left, the mechanism for the high-gain antenna can be seen. The dark area along the right side of the image represents a portion of the low-gain antenna. The radiation calibration target is at the right. The calibration target is made up of a number of materials with well-characterized colors. The known colors of the calibration targets allow scientists to determine the true colors of the rocks and soils of Mars. Three bull's-eye rings provide a wide range of brightness for the camera, similar to a photographer's grayscale chart. In the middle of the bull's-eye is a 5-inch tall post that casts a shadow, which is distorted in this image due to its location with respect to the lander camera. A large rock is located at the near center of the image. Smaller rocks and areas of soil are strewn across the Martian terrain up to the horizon line.
This image of the Martian surface was taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) before sunset on July 4 (Sol 1), the spacecraft's first day on Mars. The airbags have been partially retracted, and portions the petal holding the undeployed rover Sojourner can be seen at lower left. The rock in the center of the image may be a future target for chemical analysis. The soil in the foreground has been disturbed by the movement of the airbags as they retracted.
These images show that the Mars Pathfinder airbags have been successfully retracted, allowing safe deployment of the rover ramps. The airbags visible prominently in the top image are noticeably retracted at the bottom of the second image. The Sojourner rover is at lower right in this second image, and rocks are visible in the background.
These images show that the Mars Pathfinder airbags have been successfully retracted, allowing safe deployment of the rover ramps. The airbags visible prominently in the top image are noticeably retracted at the bottom of the second image. The Sojourner rover is at lower right in this second image, and rocks are visible in the background.
This picture from Mars Pathfinder was taken at 9:30 AM in the martian morning (2:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time), after the spacecraft landed earlier today (July 4, 1997). The picture shows these Sojourner rover perched on one of three solar panels. The rover is 65 cm (26 inches) long by 18 cm (7 inches) tall; each of its wheels is about 13 cm (5 inches) high. The white material to the left of the front of the rover is part of the airbag system used to cushion the landing.

Many rocks of different of different sizes can be seen, set in a background of reddish soil. The landing site is in the mouth of an ancient channel carved by water. The rocks may be primarily flood debris. The horizon is seen towards the top of the picture. The light brown hue of the sky results from suspended dust.

Large boulders are visible in this enlargement of pictures taken by the Mars Pathfinder lander camera on July 4, 1997. The landing site is in the dry flood channel named Ares Valles. The boulders probably represent deposits from one of the catastrophic floods that carved the ancient channel. Between the rocks is brownish windblown soil. The gray-tan sky results from dust particles in the atmosphere.
This closeup picture of the Mars Pathfinder lander shows the front of the small Sojourner rover, perched on a solar panel. The white material in front of the rover is a portion of the air bag system. Beyond the air bag is the rock-strewn Martian surface. A number of image processing artifacts are seen in this picture. Most apparent are seams between sub-frames offsetting portions of the rover's wheels and solar panel, color fringes that result from viewing the rover from the two separated eyes of the camera, and blocky fringes near edges and smooth areas that are created by data compression.
This is one of the first pictures taken by the camera on the Mars Pathfinder lander shortly after its touchdown at 10:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time on July 4, 1997. The small rover, named Sojourner, is seen in the foreground in its position on a solar panel of the lander. The white material on either side of the rover is part of the deflated airbag system used to absorb the shock of the landing. Between the rover and the horizon is the rock-strewn martian surface. Two hills are seen in the right distance, profiled against the light brown sky.
In this image from the Pathfinder IMP camera, a diversity of rocks are strewn in the foreground. A hill is visible in the distance (the notch within the hill is an image artifact). Airbags are seen at the lower right.
View of martian surface taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), the camera on board the Mars Pathfinder lander. This image was taken in mid-morning on Mars (2:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time, July 4, 1997). Part of the small rover, Sojourner, is visible on the left side of the picture. The tan cylinder to the right of the rover is one of two rolled-up ramps by which the rover will descend to the ground. The white, billowy material in the center of the picture is part of the airbag system. Many rocks of different shapes and sizes are visible between the lander and the horizon. Two hills are visible on the horizon. The notch on the left side of the leftmost conical hill is an artifact of the processing of this picture.
This image from the Pathfinder IMP camera shows the rear part of the Sojourner rover, the rolled-up rear ramp, and portions of the partially deflated airbags. The Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer is protruding from the rear (right side) of the rover. The airbags behind the rover are presently blocking the ramp from being safely unfurled.
This image from the Mars Pathfinder IMP camera shows airbags in the foreground, a large rock in the mid-field, and a hill in the background.
This image from the Mars Pathfinder IMP camera shows portions of the airbags, part of a petal, soil, and several rocks. The furrows in the soil were artificially produced by the retraction of the airbags after landing.




Author: Calvin J. Hamilton.