April 20, 2024

Models of NASA’s Sojourner, Spirit, and Curiosity rovers.

Models of NASA’s Sojourner, Spirit, and Curiosity rovers.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On July 4, 1997, a tiny, flat robot touched down on the surface of Mars and became the first wheeled vehicle to roam around on another planet. Since then, a fleet of Martian rovers have followed in the tracks of Sojourner and they have become bigger, better, and more autonomous over the years.

Sojourner was followed by Spirit and Opportunity, both landing on Mars in 2004. Curiosity, which is still roaming the dusty Martian terrain, landed in 2012, and finally, the latest addition to the rover fam, Perseverance touched down in 2021.

Although the legacy of NASA’s Mars rovers are well known, these other-worldly explorers are a world of hidden gems on their own. Here are lesser known facts sprinkled across nearly three decades of Martian robot history that you may not have known about before.

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