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Mars Rover Opportunity is Officially a Marathoner

posted: 03/25/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Mars rover
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An artist's rendering of the Mars Exploration Rover.
NASA

Mars Rover Opportunity is officially the first entity, man or machine, to travel a marathon-length distance on another planet, NASA announced Thursday. After 11 years and two months of exploration, Opportunity logged 26.219 miles of travel across the Martian surface.

"This mission isn't about setting distance records, of course; it's about making scientific discoveries on Mars and inspiring future explorers to achieve even more," said Steve Squyres, Opportunity principal investigator, in a news release. "Still, running a marathon on Mars feels pretty cool."

In July 2014, NASA dubbed Opportunity the "long-distance champion of all off-Earth vehicles" as it surpassed a previous distance record set by Soviet lunar rover Lunokhod 2. Opportunity was only designed to travel approximately 110 years per day.

Back on Earth, the Mars rover team has planned a celebratory marathon-length relay race at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in honor of Opportunity's achievement.

Click here to read NASA's news release

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