Overlanding on Mars: Sojourner

VEHICLE: 1996 Rover Sojourner (model)
ENGINE: 30W electric motor, geared independently to each wheel
SPEED: 1cm/second
WEIGHT: 25.4lbs
RANGE: 100meters

The Sojourner rover was the first off-world overland vehicle to successfully operate on a planet outside the Earth/Moon system. A small, six-wheeled solar-powered rover, Sojourner was carried within the wing-like panels of Pathfinder, and exited onto the surface two Martian days after their July 4 1997 landing. Sojourner carried multiple cameras for black&white, color, and stereo imaging, an X-Ray spectrometer, accelerometers, and tools for experimenting with surface abrasion, as well as surface adhesion of Martian dust on solar panels, to measure possible degradation of performance in future missions. Little Sojourner, named for abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, had a big mission in the unforgiving conditions on Mars, and outlived its expected one-month lifespan by three times.