NASA’s first Mars rover landed 25 years ago

It was on Independence Day, 25 years ago, that a small rover named after a Civil War abolitionist parachuted and fell to the surface of the Red Planet on airbags.

NASA’s first-ever Mars rover, nicknamed Sojourner, landed at Chryse Planitia on July 4, 1997, atop its landing vehicle, Pathfinder. The pair of spacecraft heralded a revolution in Mars exploration technology that NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers continue to this day, a quarter of a century later.

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