NASA’s Opportunity Rover Celebrates Marathon Milestone

Photo+courtesy+of+cnn.com+

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

It certainly won’t be troubling any earth-based runners’ personal bests, but NASA’s long-serving Mars rover, Opportunity, set a significant benchmark, Tuesday, as it clocked in 26.219 miles (42 kilometers) — the first-ever Martian marathon. It might have taken the robot 11 years and two months but it represents a significant landmark for NASA, reported cnn.com.

Opportunity’s project manager said that this is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world, reported myfoxal.com.

NASA’s land rover broke the record last year for longest distance traveled by an off-earth land vehicle, previously held by the former Soviet Union’s Lunokhud 2 moon rover, and it’s been moving the bar ever since, announced nbcnews.com.

“Opportunity can work productively without use of flash memory, as we have shown for the past three months, but with flash we have more flexibility for operations,” Opportunity Project Manager John Callas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, stated. “The rover can collect more data than can be returned to Earth on any one day. The flash memory allows data from intensive science activities to be returned over several days,” reported news.yahoo.com.

Opportunity’s current location overlooks a Martian gorge that NASA has named Marathon Valley, announced latimes.com.