NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity set off-Earth roving distance record

Jul 30, 2014 16:20 IST

Mars Exploration RoverNASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity set the record of maximum distance covered by a rover. It set the record when it travelled a distance of 157 feet (48 meters) on 27 July 2014 and with this the total distance (or odometry) covered by Opportunity rover stood at 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers). The previous off-Earth roving record was held by Lunokhod 2 rover of erstwhile USSR (Soviet Union).

The distance covered by Mars rover Opportunity in July 2014 brought it closer to the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The Opportunity rover had reached the Endeavour crater in 2011 after covering a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers), where it examined outcrops on the crater's rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals.

If the rover succeeds in covering the marathon distance of 26.2 miles (about 42.2 kilometers) then it will reach the next major investigation site named as Marathon Valley by the mission scientists.
 
The Mars Exploration Rover Project is one element of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager - John Callas, of NASA's JPL in Pasadena, California

About Russian Lunokhod 2 rover
Russian Lunokhod 2 rover was a successor of the first Lunokhod mission in 1970 and it landed on Earth's moon on 15 January 1973. This rover drove a distance of about 24.2 miles (39 kilometers) in less than five months, according to calculations recently made using images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) cameras that reveal Lunokhod 2's tracks.

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