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Mars Pathfinder Mission

Matt Golombek
Project Scientist, Mars Pathfinder
JPL, NASA / Caltech



You wake up early and you look and you see that salmon-colored sky with those clouds whisping across the surface.

You’d see the sun rise bright and orange through that salmon-colored dust filled sky in the morning, and you’d see it rise up. and the sky would never be blue, it would remain that sort of pinkish-salmony color.

You look out at the pictures of this rock-strewn field, and you could imagine walking on that surface from the rover’s wheel tracks in the soil, you could imagine the footprints that you would leave. And you could imagine going over to Yogi and Barnacle Bill, and looking at them up close and looking around, you could kind of imagine what the surface would be like to walk on and what you would look at as you did that.

And finally, if you could be on Mars without a spacesuit, which of course you can’t, we now have the data from the weather station to actually feel what it would be like to be on Mars. Viking just didn’t have enough sensors and they couldn’t measure fast enough. but we know that if we were standing on the surface, our feet would be comfortably warm, and our head would need (laughs) a big hat and a scarf, it would be cold up there. 20 or so degrees of variance between the surface and where you’re standing at, and then just standing there for a moment or two, we’d get 10-15 degree temperature swings just as we were standing there you’d be cold and hot in an instant. And finally just sort of feel these light breezes that were blowing on the surface.

And so those really kind of make it into a place where you could actually imagine being on the surface. and that’s kind of fun... (laughs)

Mission Links:
 • Athena Mars Exploration Rovers
 • NASA Mars Exploration Rovers
 • 2001 Mars Odyssey
 • Mars Express
 • Mars Global Surveyor
 • Mars Pathfinder
 • Viking Project
 • Mariner
 • Mars Pathfinder--time of landing
 • Mars Pathfinder--end of mission
Additional Links:
 • Mars Exploration Homepage
 • JPL's Solar System Exploration
 • The Nine Planets
 • Views of the Solar System
 • Windows to the Universe
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