This is an image of the rover Sojourner at the feature called Mermaid Dune at the MPF landing site. Mermaid is thought to be a low, transverse dune ridge, with its long (approximately 2 meters) axis transverse to the wind, which is thought to come from the lower left of the image and blow toward the upper right. The rover is facing to the lower left, the "upwind" direction. The rover's middle wheels are at the crestline of the small dune, and the rear wheels are on the lee side of the feature. A soil mechanics experiment was performed to dig into the dune and examine the sediments exposed.
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 managed the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
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.