The Mars Pathfinder launched on December 4, 1996. The Pathfinder delivered a lander and a rover to Mars in a cost-effective way; it cost $170,000,000, which is fairly cheap compared to other missions to Mars. The Pathfinder used an innovative method to land on the surface of Mars - a parachute to slow its descent and airbags to cushion its landing.
The Pathfinder about 17,000 photos of the surface of Mars over the duration of its mission. It also returned 15 chemical analyses of rocks. These analyses helped scientists believe that Mars was warm and wet at some point, with liquid water on its surface and a thicker atmosphere.
The Pathfinder had its final data transmission on September 27, 1997. It outlived its expected lifetime, set by the scientists at NASA. The Pathfinder's findings helped to lead scientists to the belief that water has at some point been on Mars.
Mars as seen through the eyes of Pathfinder