On this day: 6 July

On this day in 1997, the NASA Pathfinder Robot, Sojourner, began its exploration of Mars. It was the first time a man made craft had traversed another planet.

Using it’s titanium wheels to trundle across the Red Planet, the tiny 10kg (22lbs) robot used solar cells and a backup battery pack for power. Rather than having a mind of its own, it was controlled by ground control in California.

It’s findings discovered that Mars has a surface temperature of -93C (-199F) and that the barren landscape could have had liquid water at one point in its lifespan as well as witnessing huge dust storms. Well known facts now, but these stats were revolutionary for the rime and represented a breakthrough for NASA and space exploration.

Sojourner, Mars Rover, Mars, colonisation, space travel, Red Planet, 4 July 1997, NASA