Mars Pathfinder

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Christopher K.
Posts: 4810
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Mars Pathfinder

Post by Christopher K. » July 4th, 2012, 11:20 pm

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the landing of the very successful Mars Pathfinder. It was only the second of NASA’ s Discovery missions. It was a special mission because the lander had a flight partner—a six-wheeled rover that weighed over ten kilograms. NASA wanted to show the agency could deliver excitement and gather hard scientific data on a cut budget. The rover had a top speed of one centimeter per second.

The spacecraft entered the Martian atmosphere and slowed with aerobraking and retrorockets. A parachute deployed and cushioned landing bags inflated eight seconds before impact. The spacecraft landed (bounced and landed) in Ares Vallis, at a point where—I think—it passes through Xanthe Terra. The next day the rover (the first wheeled vehicle used anywhere besides Earth and the Moon) left via a ramp.

The rover drove for over eight days and returned over 500 pictures and initiated over a dozen chemical analyses. The lander produced over 16,000 images. The Pathfinder lander was renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station; it lasted three months—three times longer than expected.

A lot of incredible revelations were made due to this mission, such as…
*Martian dust included magnetic particles
*Rocks near the landing site had a different composition from Martian meteorites.
*Dust was tagged as the main absorber of the Sun’s radiation.
*A possible flood-related deposit of rocks was identified. Additionally, some pebbles suggested the type that formed in running water.

More information:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars- ... index.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 4810
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mars Pathfinder

Post by Christopher K. » October 26th, 2016, 3:42 pm

Today at 4pm CDT and 7pm CDT NASA-TV1 will rebroadcast the STEM in 30 episode "Seven Minutes of Terror". The program focuses on the engineering aspect of sending landers and rovers to other planets.

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