Why No One Under 20 Has Experienced a Day Without NASA at Mars
As the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft approached its destination on July 4, 1997, no NASA mission had successfully reached the Red Planet in more than 20 years.
Even the mission team anxiously awaiting confirmation that the spacecraft survived its innovative, bouncy landing could not anticipate the magnitude of the pivot about to shape the Space Age.
In the 20 years since Pathfinder's touchdown, eight other NASA landers and orbiters have arrived successfully, and not a day has passed without the United States having at least one active robot on Mars or in orbit around Mars.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona