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Missions That Explore Our Solar System

Mars Pathfinder
Image taken from the Mars Pathfinder Lander of the Sojourner Rover conducting science on a Mars rock
Image taken from the Mars Pathfinder Lander of the
Sojourner Rover conducting science on a Mars rock

Mars Pathfinder was launched on December 3, 1996, landed at its destination on July 4, 1997, and delivered the small rover Sojourner to the surface of the planet. Since the Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner Rover were intended make contact with the surface of Mars, this mission was categorized Category IVa for planetary protection purposes, and subject to appropriate requirements for preventing forward contamination.

For more information about Mars Pathfinder, see these pages at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website and the Science Mission Directorate website.