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NASA Mars Space Technology

Opportunity Breaks NASA's 40-Year Roving Record 92

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 Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:21AM (#43750657)
    No I think you're confusing the decimal for a comma.
  • speedy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lfourrier ( 209630 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @08:23AM (#43750679)
    35760m in 3309 days is about 45 cm/h
    ( and imperial types can translate from SI themselves)
  • by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:13AM (#43751129)
    The rovers don't move anywhere near that slow. They only spend a minute or two moving per day. After budgeting daily energy requirements for heaters, communications gear, and science equipment, that's all they have left to move the thing around.
  • Re:Soviet Strong (Score:5, Informative)

    by thrich81 ( 1357561 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:00AM (#43751675)

    Kind of funny but wrong or misleading both by commision and omission. Commission: 1st Venusian probe and 1st Martian probe -- the USSR had the first landers on each (which operated for a few seconds or minutes) but the USA had the first flybys of each (Mariner II for Venus and Mariner IV for Mars; Mariner II was the first successful mission of any kind to another planet besides the earth-moon system) and "space probes" by definition include flybys.

    Omission: The list of "firsts" which USA-NASA accomplished is long, but the highlights are:
    Manned moon landing (had to put that one in first)
    First and so far only probes to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. First and only orbiters of Jupiter and Saturn.
    First and only spacecraft on escape trajectories from the solar system.
    First probe to Pluto (on its way now).
    First and only probes to Mercury (Mariner 10 flyby and Mercury Messenger in orbit now).
    Only landers on Mars which worked for more than a 15 seconds.
    The list above is far from exhaustive. Both the USSR and USA had notable space accomplishements and neither would have moved as fast without the competition of the other, but this pervasive meme that the USSR did everything first is just false.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford