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Field Trip to Mars

Mars Pathfinder

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Field Trip to Mars Site Map

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Landing Site

The Mars Pathfinder landed on Mars in July, 1997 and began a successful mission of exploration. Find out about the landing site, the mission and the Sojourner rover by clicking the links below.

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Mars
Pathfinder
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Pathfinder
Mission
Click for Sojourner Rover
Sojourner
Rover

Comparison to Ares Vallis Flood Plain

Compare these flood plain rocks and boulders with the Pathfinder image below. Except for the sagebrush and blue sky the image is similar. Sharp edges indicate the rocks did not travel very far from where they first entered the water flow. Rounded edges indicate that a rock has bounced along in fast flowing water for long enough to chip and break off tiny pieces.

Flood plain rocks and boulders

Flood plain rocks and boulders near Soap Lake.

Twin Peaks by the Mars Pathfinder

Twin Peaks in Super Resolution
"The Twin Peaks are modest-size hills to the southwest of the Mars Pathfinder landing site. They were discovered on the first panoramas taken by the IMP camera on the 4th of July, 1997, and subsequently identified in Viking Orbiter images taken over 20 years ago. The peaks are approximately 30-35 meters (-100 feet) tall. North Twin is approximately 860 meters (2800 feet) from the lander, and South Twin is about a kilometer away (3300 feet). The scene includes bouldery ridges and swales or "hummocks" of flood debris that range from a few tens of meters away from the lander to the distance of the South Twin Peak."
(Image and Description by NASA/JPL)

Click for Tiu Vallis Flood Plain area

The next valley to Ares Vallis is Tiu Vallis seen in this NASA image at left. The flow of water is from the bottom of the image to the top. The crater to the left of the arrow point is about 50 km across. Note the sculpted features of channels and islands.
Click on image for a detail view Tiu Vallis area.

Draggoo Comment "This black and white image is an example of how hard it is to look at an area and determine whether the features are hills or valleys. The light is coming from the right of the picture. The islands are raised and the craters are round depressions but your eye could see the craters as round hills and the islands as shallow depressions, especially if you thought the light was coming from the left. This optical illusion means that other ways, such as radar imaging, must be used to provide heighth and depth information. Try to see both versions of the image. I had to stare at it for a while." [Draggoo]

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Mars
Pathfinder
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Pathfinder
Mission
Click for Sojourner Rover
Sojourner
Rover


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For more information, check out:
Mars Pathfinder
Viking, Pathfinder and other Mars missions
NASA Planet Facts.


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