This image shows the landing site for the Mars Pathfinder mission. Viewing of the large version of this image is recommended.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL

The Mars Pathfinder Landing Site

Mars Pathfinder landed in a valley of Mars called Ares Vallis, shown in this picture. Ares Vallis is near Xanthe Terra, which can be seen on the large map of Mars. The picture to the left is low-resolution and turned sideways. You have to click on the image to see everything.

Scientists expected to find many different sorts of rocks to experiment with. Rocks may have come from mountains around the landing site, some of which are 30 kilometers away, to the south, as viewed in the big image.

Following the Rover experiments however, the origin of the rocks of the plain became less clear. Reasons why the landing site may be different than expected include:

  • the nature of the flood plain, which the Rover observed up close
  • the presence of nearby impact craters, particularly one called "Big Crater", better seen in the image at high resolution.
Scientists examined the rocks and soils around the Rover carefully to prove what the landing site was like.

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