Pathfinder Mars rover
December 11, 2013
The Mars Pathfinder was so cool - this low cost mission returned these images of a cute little toy-like rover rolling up to big rocks and leaving tracks in the dust. Forgetting about the hundreds of millions of kilometres between planets, this really brought a human scale to Mars exploration and made Mars rover exploration seem within our grasp, paving the way to subsequent rover missions which we're enjoying now. [/p] I came to planetary science in 1999, just after this image had been captured, and since then I've always had a soft spot for in situ measurements, that is mesaurements from landers/rovers/aerial vehicles rather than remote observations from satellites.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.