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062

Sojourner

OLogy Series
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062

Sojourner

OLogy Series
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On July 5, 1997, the six-wheeled robotic rover, Sojourner, rolled down a ramp from the Pathfinder spacecraft onto the Martian surface. The 23-pound, remote-controlled robot photographed and examined rocks selected by the scientific team on Earth. Sojourner was designed to roam for a week but ended up working 12 times longer than that.

How long did it take for Sojourner to get instructions from Earth?

6 seconds

6 minutes

6 hours

Are you right?

Correct!

It took about six minutes for messages from Earth to reach the remote-controlled rover. This means it took 12 minutes for Sojourner's "drivers" to see where they were going!

Sojourner's primary mission was to:

survey and take pictures of Mars

send rock samples back to Earth

interview Martians

Are you right?

Correct!

Sojourner's measurements will help scientists develop much more complicated missions to Mars. Maybe someday we'll figure out if there is life on Mars.

Pathfinder's robotic rover was named after a woman who worked to end slavery in the 1800s.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Sojourner Truth was the name of a freed slave who fought to end slavery and get more rights for women.

Purpose of mission: to study Martian surface
Size: 2 feet long, 10.9 inches high
Weight: 23 pounds
Total hours of operation on Mars: 2,000 hours
Characteristics: six-wheeled, solar-powered, remote-controlled, robotic rover
Significance: explored Mars' surface geology
Range: about 1/3 of a mile
Speed: 80 feet per hour

Image credits: courtesy NASA.