"Flat Top," the rectangular rock at right, is part of a stretch of rocky terrain in this image, taken by the deployed Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) on Sol 3. Dust has accumulated on the top of "Flat Top," but is not present on the sides due to the steep angles of the rock. This dust may have been placed by dust storms moving across the Martian surface. The rock dubbed "Wedge" is at left. The objects have been studied using several different color filters on the IMP camera.
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.