Mars Rover Opportunity has completed a marathon trek of over 26 miles. It has now been trundling around on Mars for 11 years, NASA’s longest running rover. Originally intended for a 90 day mission, Opportunity has far exceeded expectations. Opportunity landed on 25th January 2004 at Meridiani Planum. Powered by Solar Cell Arrays and a rechargeable chemical battery it has a top speed of 0.11 mph (0.18 kph). So due to its slow maximum speed and the frequent observation and science stops it has taken 11 years to reach a distance of 26 miles. Still, that’s not too bad for a robot that is on a planet that at its closest is about 34 million miles (54.6 million km) away and averages at 139 million miles (225 million km).
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This amazing little rover has travelled further than any other robotic device on another planetary body. Lunokhod 2 held the record for decades as it travelled 24.2 miles (39km) on the moon back in 1973. NASA had manned lunar rovers that travelled over 20 miles, now Opportunity has officially overtaken Lunokhod 2. You can see the entire timelapse rover’s eye view of its journey and corresponding track map in this awesome video. Let’s hope Opportunity keeps on truckin’ and hopefully one day soon we will see someone walk on Mars and catch up with these pioneering robotic rovers.