Mars Pathfinder


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Mars Pathfinder

A NASA mission launched Dec. 4 1996 to put a lander and a free-ranging instrument-packed roving vehicle directly onto the planet's surface. The probe landed on Mars on July 4 1997 in the region of the Ares Vallis, an extensive valley-like feature in the northern hemisphere. After landing, Mars Pathfinder released the rover, named Sojourner, which began investigations of the surrounding area. The Pathfinder mission lasted for nearly three months, sending back a wealth of science data about the planet's rocks and soil, its dust and dust storms, its winds and the effects of wind erosion, and possible evidence that water may have flowed on Mars during a warmer past. Pathfinder made its last complete data transmission on Sept. 27. After a month of unsuccessful attempts to communicate with it, mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory terminated further efforts to contact the probe on Nov. 4 1997.

The mission successfully demonstrated a low-cost method of delivering scientific instruments to Mars. It was possible to photograph local surface features, and the mission obtained 16 000 images from the lander and 550 from Sojourner.

References in periodicals archive ?
He led the team that built the Mars Pathfinder that landed in 1997, bringing worldwide acclaim and initiating a new era of exploration of the surface of Mars.
The Mars Pathfinder with land in what NASA scientists call a "grab bag" site--the mouth of an ancient water channel.
The current members of the Robot Hall of Fame include the following industrial and entertainment robots: ASIMO, the Mars Pathfinder Sojourners Rover, Shakey,and Unimate.
The rovers' landings will use the same ``drop, bounce and roll'' technology that made history during the Mars Pathfinder mission.
Over the last decade, Actel FPGAs have been on board more than 300 space programs, including GPS, Echostar, International Space Station, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Explorer Rovers 1 and 2, Mars Express and the Hubble Space Telescope.
PASADENA - NASA announced Thursday it will send to the Red Planet a larger cousin of the Mars Pathfinder rover - built almost entirely at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory - for a science mission in 2003.
Unlike Mars Pathfinder, which landed on a hillier region in 1997, the lander won't have airbags to cushion its touchdown.
Most recently, its family of radiation-hardened DC-DC converters, power ICs, and power MOSFETs have contributed to such missions as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder, the International Space Station, Voyager and an array of military and commercial satellites.
Aerojet provided propulsion for every NASA Discovery Mission launched to date, including NEAR, Mars Pathfinder, Lunar Prospector, MESSENGER, and Stardust.
She and her husband, engineer Richard Swinyer, one of the builders of the Mars Pathfinder, live in Sylmar.
It will feature a vehicle five times the size of tiny Sojourner, the six-wheeled rover on Mars Pathfinder that became a staple on the nightly news last July.
Prior to becoming manager of the Mars program, Shirley managed the team that built Sojourner, the microrover which landed with Mars Pathfinder on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997.