This image from the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) camera shows the rear part of the Sojourner rover, the rolled-up rear ramp, and portions of the partially deflated airbags. The Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer instrument is protruding from the rear (right side) of the rover. The airbags behind the rover are presently blocking the ramp from being safely unfurled. The ramps are a pair of deployable metal reels that will provide a track for the rover as it slowly rolls off the lander, and onto the surface of Mars, once Pathfinder scientists determine it is safe to do so.
Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator.
Photojournal note: Sojourner spent 83 days of a planned seven-day mission exploring the Martian terrain, acquiring images, and taking chemical, atmospheric and other measurements. The final data transmission received from Pathfinder was at 10:23 UTC on September 27, 1997. Although mission managers tried to restore full communications during the following five months, the successful mission was terminated on March 10, 1998.