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Space & Astronomy

Mars rover passes 40-year-old record

By T.K. Randall
May 17, 2013 · Comment icon 12 comments

Image Credit: NASA
Opportunity has broken the record for the furthest distance driven by a NASA vehicle on another world.
The nine-year-old Mars rover has been trundling around on the surface of the Red Planet since 2004, journeying a total of 22.22 miles. The previous record holder was the Lunar Roving Vehicle that astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt drove on the Moon in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

The overall international record holder for the furthest a vehicle has driven on another world however is still held by the Soviet Lunokhod 2 rover which traveled a distance of 23 miles across the lunar surface in 1973.
The team operating NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity received confirmation in a transmission from Mars today that the rover drove 263 feet (80 meters) on Thursday, bringing Opportunity's total odometry since landing on Mars in January 2004 to 22. 220 statute miles (35. 760 kilometers).


Source: NASA | Comments (12)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by shrooma 11 years ago
I was 3mths old And, so I guess I kinda missed it! *stoopid bloody parents* :-)
Comment icon #4 Posted by GirlfromOz 11 years ago
Yes! I was one of the lucky ones that saw Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon on my television in Australia in 1969.Those were the days when we all had hope for a future in space.After our disillusions, we still now hold hope for other explorations such as the Rover on Mars.That little fella exceeded his life expectations & kept on powering on.The NASA scientists didn't expect the extra life that this rover has had.He has kept on sending back images & keeps on powering & moving on,sending back images.Bravo! Even though we now know that a future like the Jetsons that some... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
Even though we now know that a future like the Jetsons will never be,we accept the smallest of achievements like these.Keep on truckin' Rover! I agree with much of what you say, but I think that a Rover which has survived 9 years on Mars and which has the computer power to detect hazards and avoid them without human input is no small achievement.
Comment icon #6 Posted by GirlfromOz 11 years ago
Of coarse it is no small achievement! We all know that!I was just stating that,from my era,when we were all young & expecting our lives to advance further towards space travel etc,the Jetsons,& Star Trek seemed within our reach.The latter,such as the Rover seem small compared to what we expected in our wonderful futures.We all know that the Rover has exceeded beyond NASA's & our expectations.Sorry to say to many my age but,the space age ended years ago.I think NASA will shut down soon due to lack of funding & interest from the government.Priorities will be economy & defence... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
I think NASA will shut down soon due to lack of funding & interest from the government.Priorities will be economy & defence. No chance at all. There is no way that the US Government will allow Russia, China and Europe to dominate space while they sit by and watch, more importantly there is no way the American people will allow it. They are embarrassed enough that they are having to hitch a lift on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it is.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 11 years ago
i'd much rather be gene cernan than some guy with a joystick 50m miles away from what I was driving..... Actually the most impressive thing about these rover is that there is no guy with a joy stick. In fact with radio signals taking between 3 and 30 minutes one way (and so a delay of between 6 minutes and a hour between a hazard being detected and the rover being able to receive a signal to stop or change course) it simply couldn't be driven that way. Opportunity (and Curiosity) are told where to drive to and they make their own way there, making decisions on obstacle avoidance by themselves.
Comment icon #9 Posted by paperdyer 11 years ago
Actually the most impressive thing about these rover is that there is no guy with a joy stick. In fact with radio signals taking between 3 and 30 minutes one way (and so a delay of between 6 minutes and a hour between a hazard being detected and the rover being able to receive a signal to stop or change course) it simply couldn't be driven that way. Opportunity (and Curiosity) are told where to drive to and they make their own way there, making decisions on obstacle avoidance by themselves. A good start in AI technology. Rudimentry survival instincts.
Comment icon #10 Posted by and then 11 years ago
I agree with much of what you say, but I think that a Rover which has survived 9 years on Mars and which has the computer power to detect hazards and avoid them without human input is no small achievement. Agreed, and I call just the LANDING of Curiosity a feat that was so cool and complex that I won't doubt anything NASA says they will do, again This video is a compilation showing the actual landing of Curiosity. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/ultra-hd-curiosity-landing/
Comment icon #11 Posted by shrooma 11 years ago
Actually the most impressive thing about these rover is that there is no guy with a joy stick. In fact with radio signals taking between 3 and 30 minutes one way (and so a delay of between 6 minutes and a hour between a hazard being detected and the rover being able to receive a signal to stop or change course) it simply couldn't be driven that way. Opportunity (and Curiosity) are told where to drive to and they make their own way there, making decisions on obstacle avoidance by themselves. . (i'd still rather be gene cernan....) ;-)
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew 11 years ago
No chance at all. There is no way that the US Government will allow Russia, China and Europe to dominate space while they sit by and watch, more importantly there is no way the American people will allow it. They are embarrassed enough that they are having to hitch a lift on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it is. Not only that, government programs and agencies are harder to get rid of than an embedded tick.


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