The 1997 mission included the first successful rover on Mars, called Sojourner, which was delivered to the surface by the Pathfinder. Sojourner analyzed rocks in order to gain a better understanding of the surface of mars.
Pathfinder's landing system did not using conventional rockets to touch down on the surface, NASA decided to use airbags instead. After going through the higher parts of the atmosphere, Pathfinder deployed a parachute and also shed the heat shield that protected the spacecraft from the heat that built up on the spacecraft during reentry. While sojourner patrolled the surface, the pathfinder relayed signals to earth and photographed the martian sky. The mission contributed 550 images from the rover, as well as more than 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil and extensive data on winds and other weather factors.
The mission provided necessary information on if human settlement on mars would one day be possible. The data collected by the rover will allow us to make preparations for when we do eventually colonize mars.