Although Mars Pathfinder was expected to operate any time between a week to a month, it eventually lasted for almost three months. The final contact with Pathfinder was at 10:23 UTC on September 27, 1997, on sol 83. Although mission planners tried to restore contact during the following five months, the mission was terminated on March 10, 1998. The Lander's silver-zinc battery was only capable of being recharged about 40 times; as a consequence, after about sol 40, the battery was not able to keep the Lander warm at night. The exact reason for the final failure of the Lander is not certain, but it was probably due to an electronics failure due to the very cold night-time temperatures that were experienced in the final weeks of the mission. After sol 92, the automatic backup procedures should have instructed Sojourner to return to the Lander and circle it while attempting to re-establish communications. This behavior would have continued until hardware failure.
Mars Pathfinder returned 16,500 images from the lander and 550 images from the rover, as well as more than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil, plus extensive data on winds and other weather factors. Among the scientific findings were:
The above photo was taken by the left-side camera on the Mars Pathfinder Lander. The Lander carried a stereoscopic camera on an extendable pole that allowed "3-D" images to be taken. The photo shows the "Rock Garden" in the foreground and "Twin Peaks" in the background. The "Twin Peaks" are modest-sized hills to the southwest of the Mars Pathfinder landing site. The peaks were discovered on the first panoramic photos taken by Pathfinder's camera on July 4, 1997, and subsequently identified in Viking Orbiter images taken over 20 years ago. The peaks are approximately 30-35 meters (100 feet) tall. North Twin is approximately 860 meters (2,800 feet) from the lander, and South Twin is about a kilometer away (3,300 feet). The scene includes bouldery ridges and swales or "hummocks" of flood debris that range from a few tens of meters away from the lander to the distance of the South Twin Peak.