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NASA Mars Space Technology

Opportunity Breaks NASA's 40-Year Roving Record 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-and-dusty-trail dept.
astroengine writes "After nine years of hard Mars roving, Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity has broken a 40-year-old extraterrestrial distance record. On Thursday, the tenacious six-wheeled robot drove 80 meters (263 feet), nudging the total distance traveled since landing on the red planet in 2004 to 35.760 kilometers (22.220 miles). NASA's previous distance record was held by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt when, in December 1972, they drove their Lunar Roving Vehicle 35.744 kilometers (22.210 miles) over the lunar surface. Although it's broken the NASA distance record, it hasn't surpassed the international record, yet. The Soviet Lunokhod 2 remote-controlled moon rover roved 37 kilometers (23 miles) across the lunar surface and, so far, remains the undisputed champion of distance driving on an extraterrestrial surface."
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Opportunity Breaks NASA's 40-Year Roving Record

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  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:21AM (#43751223) Homepage

    , spread over 3 separate EVAs in 3 days. All of the unmanned US and Russian rovers took a lot longer to set their distance records.

    If the Apollo program was allowed to continue past 17, there were plans for even longer distance surface excursions. There were even preliminary studies done for a small flying vehicle to allow the astronauts to cover even longer distances from their landing site.

  • Re:Soviet Strong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Big Hairy Ian (1155547) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:15AM (#43751827)
    I know sorry USA also had 1st semi re-usable space craft, 1st docking in space and 1st Geo synchronos. However if you look at it pre 1966 it's pretty one sided with I think the only NASA 1st being having two manned space craft within 200 yards of each other whilst in orbit. It all changed when Sergi Pavlovich Korolyev died he had essentially blagged the Soviet space program from the start (They only let him launch Uri Gagarin because he told them they needed someone to man the radio).
  • Re:Soviet Strong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@gma i l .com> on Friday May 17, 2013 @06:06PM (#43758035)
    Actually the first object into interplanetary space was a manhole cover that predated the Space Race. The Pascal-B nuclear test in 1957 was supposed to test safety features which would stop an accidental premature detonation of a nuclear weapon. Instead the safety features failed miserably, the nuke went off with almost the full force, and the 900 kg steel cover welded on top of the test shaft was launched into space at several times escape velocity.

    I know far too much trivia.

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