This is an image from the super-pan sequence. Of importance are some of the features around the rock nicknamed Barnacle Bill in the left foreground. The rock shows a "streamlined tail" composed of particles deposited by wind on the leeward (downwind) side of the rock. Also seen is a "moat" around the opposite (windward) side of the rock where either erosion (or non-deposition) of fine sediment has occurred. Mars Pathfinder scientist believe that the wind blowing over and around rocks like Barnacle Bill creates an airflow pattern wherein a buffer zone is formed immediately upwind of the rock and airflow patterns keep sediment from being deposited directly upwind of Barnacle Bill. On the downwind side, however, the airflow is complex and a small wake and tapered "dead air zone" form. Sediment can be deposited within this region, the shape of the formed deposit corresponds to the airflow patterns that exist behind the rock. Similar features have been observed at the Viking landing sites, and are thought to form under high wind conditions during the autumn and winter seasons in the northern hemisphere. This image mosaic was processed by the U.S. Geological Survey in support of the NASA/JPL Mars Pathfinder Mars Mission.
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 a 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.