Cover image for The adventures of Sojourner : the mission to Mars that thrilled the world
The adventures of Sojourner : the mission to Mars that thrilled the world
Wunsch, Susi Trautmann, 1957-
Publication Information:
New York : Mikaya Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
60 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Tells the story of the mission that placed the Sojourner remote-control rover on Mars on July 4, 1997.
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
1090 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.8 1.0 29524.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 4 Quiz: 17768 Guided reading level: Y.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB641 .W86 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



On July 4, 1997, The Mars Pathfinder lander, cocooned in an ungainly mass of airbags, was dropped from a parachute 40 feet above Mars. It slammed to the surface, kicked up the red Martian dust, bounced along like a giant beach ball and rolled to a stop. Pathfinder's three solar panel "petals" unfolded. Nestled inside was Sojourner, a one foot high, remote control vehicle that looked like something you might find under a Christmas tree. The world had a new hero.

The Mars mission was a genuine phenomenon. In a one month period, there were over a half billion hits on the mission's web site, breaking all records by hundreds of millions of hits. The most watched, most talked about space flight since men had landed on the Moon, it was also the most unlikely.

In The Adventures of Sojourner , Susi Trautmann Wunsch tells the entire story: from the small team of young scientists testing a simplified, common sense of technology, to the tension of blast off, to the wild bounce landing, to Sojourner's trials and tribulations along the rocky road of Mars, to ultimate and resounding success.

It is a page-turning narrative that, along the way, explains the intricacies of planetary exploration to a new generation of young readers. The diagrams and artist's conceptions make space technology instantly accessible. The photographs of little Sojourner tooling along the dusty, red emptiness of Mars make space travel seem not so distant at all.

Author Notes

Susi Trautmann Wunsch is a freelance journalist living in New York City.

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up‘An authoritative and exciting recounting of the Mars Pathfinder mission and the success of the Sojourner rover. The story begins with a brief but enlightening discussion of why scientists send missions to Mars and the successes and failures that occurred before the launch of Pathfinder in December of 1996. The book then follows the designing and building of Sojourner, describes her performance on Mars after landing on July 4, 1997, and speculates on her ultimate demise sometime in September or November of that year. The detailed explanations of the rover's construction, the launch and landing of the Pathfinder lander on Mars, and the work done by Sojourner are fascinating. Stunning photographs, the majority in color, add additional details and clarity to the lively text, which is easy to read but does not talk down to readers. A time line of Mars voyages, a chart comparing Earth and Mars, and three Web sites are also included. This book provides enough information for reports, and may inspire students to pursue further research. An entertaining, factual, and immensely readable volume.‘Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.