NASA selected an ancient flood plain on Mars as the landing site for the 1996 mission of Mars Pathfinder, one of the first in a new generation of small, low-cost spacecraft. Eons ago, when water flowed on Mars, great floods inundated the landing site, located on a rocky plain in an area known today as Ares Vallis. The site is 850 kilometers (527 miles) southeast of the location of Viking Lander 1, which in 1976 became the first spacecraft to land on Mars. The spacecraft arrived at Mars on July 4, 1997.
Image from: NASA/JPL