NASA's Opportunity Becomes the First Mars Rover to Run a Marathon

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 - 10:24AM
Space
Mars
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 - 10:24AM
NASA's Opportunity Becomes the First Mars Rover to Run a Marathon
Eleven years a long time to complete a marathon, but this is fairly momentous all the same. NASA's Opportunity rover has now traveled over 26 miles on Mars, making it the first manmade robot to "run" an extraterrestrial marathon.



"This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world," said Opportunity project manager John Callas in a statement. "A first time happens only once."

In the past decade, Opportunity has made many groundbreaking discoveries on the Red Planet, including finding Martian meteorites like the Heat Shield Rock, unprecedented information about the Victoria crater, and the discovery of Martian "blueberries," or microscopic hematite spheres.

"This mission isn't about setting distance records, of course; it's about making scientific discoveries on Mars and inspiring future explorers to achieve even more," said Opportunity principal investigator Steve Squyres. "Still, running a marathon on Mars feels pretty cool."

Opportunity has already vastly exceeded expectations, as it was originally only scheduled to explore Mars for 90 sol (Martian solar days). And it's unclear how much longer the rover will last, as it's starting to show unmistakable signs of age. Its memory, for example, is becoming degraded, and NASA has been forced to "hack" the rover in order to cure its amnesia.
Science
NASA
Space
Mars

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