Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars NASA Space

Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the rollin'-rollin'-rollin' dept.
schwit1 writes: "With a drive of 157 feet on Sunday, the Mars rover Opportunity broke the Soviet record, set by Lunokhod 2 in 1973, for the longest distance traveled by a vehicle on another planet. "If the rover can continue to operate the distance of a marathon — 26.2 miles (about 42.2 kilometers) — it will approach the next major investigation site mission scientists have dubbed "Marathon Valley." Observations from spacecraft orbiting Mars suggest several clay minerals are exposed close together at this valley site, surrounded by steep slopes where the relationships among different layers may be evident. The Russian Lunokhod 2 rover, a successor to the first Lunokhod mission in 1970, landed on Earth's moon on Jan. 15, 1973, where it drove 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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

Comments Filter:
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @11:47PM (#47563499)

    Lunakhod was only on the moon, and was driven at relatively high speeds using live drivers looking at TV to see where to go.

    Interesting trivia: At first the Soviets tried to use experienced drivers. But even to the moon and back is several light seconds, and this lag confused people experienced in driving cars. So they had to find people that had never driven before, with no expectations that the vehicle would respond instantly.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:06AM (#47563569) Homepage

    They had their own goals and all that, but my first goal, if I was sending something millions of miles away (I don't know how far it traveled when it went to Mars, but the closest approach between earth and mars has been 34.8 million miles), I'd certainly want the ability to move it more than XXX feet per day.

    And a free pony, but the problem is the power budget. Going faster -> more power required -> bigger solar panels -> more weight -> going slower. If you got a solution for that, I'm sure NASA would like to have a talk with you. Also consider that it might be very hard to travel a significant distance, it's easier to drop two rovers on opposite sides of the planet than design a rover that can drive 5000+ km.

    Mars has areas with really sharp rocks and Curiosity has already taken more wheel damage than expected. Soft soil is almost just as bad, potentially trapping the rover as it happened with Opportunity. And there's no tow truck coming, so if you screw it up the mission is over. Personally I imagine it's the scientific equipment that mostly limits the rover, if we haven't got the tools or sensors getting there faster won't do us any good.

The speed of anything depends on the flow of everything.

Working...