Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

July 24, 1997
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Mars Pathfinder's Landing Site
Credit: Viking 1 Orbiter Team

Explanation: Where is Mars Pathfinder? Follow the arrow in the above picture taken by the Viking Orbiter in 1976. From the surface Mars appears covered with rocks, but from orbit Mars appears covered with craters. However, several familiar features are visible in this photograph. To the left (west) of Sagan Memorial Station are the now-familiar twin peaks that dominate the horizon of many Pathfinder photographs. These hills are about one kilometer from the landing site, twice the planned range of Sojourner. Two craters loom nearby: a small one to the east not easily visible here, and a big one to the south of Pathfinder. The landing site is in the dry flood channel named Ares Vallis.

Tomorrow's picture: Stellar Laboratories in the LMC

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.