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Pathfinder pictures from Mars

 Pathfinder pictures from Mars


Pathfinder pictures from Mars

We salute JPL, NASA, and all those involved on the success of the Pathfinder mission to Mars--a triumph of engineering, science, and mathematics!

Mathematics has played an essential role in this, as in all, space missions. Let us just mention a couple of the contributions of mathematics:
a) Getting Pathfinder to Mars: The Pathfinder spacecraft was launched from Earth and arrived at Mars after a journey lasting 7 months and covering 309 million miles. Navigating to Mars means solving a mathematical problem in celestial mechanics.
b) Getting the information back to Earth: The Pathfinder spacecraft sends a very weak signal from Mars to Earth, planets that are over 12 million miles apart at present. Picking up this signal out of the background noise means solving a mathematical problem in signal processing.

Here are two images of Mars taken by Pathfinder:

This black and white image is a view of the Martian horizon, showing the hills named the "Twin Peaks" in the background.


This color image shows two rocks, named "Wedge" and "Flat Top", near the Pathfinder landing site.


These images are courtesy of NASA. For more images and information about Pathfinder, see the JPL/NASA Mars Pathfinder - Welcome to Mars! page, or the National Space Science Data Center Mars Pathfinder Project Information page.

- Steven Weintraub

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