Rover Completes First Ever “Mars Marathon” with Time of 11 Years, 2 Months
[NASA JPL] NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, passed marathon distance in total driving on March 24, 2015, during the mission’s 3,968th Martian day, or sol. A drive of 153 feet (46.5 meters) on Sol 3968 brought Opportunity’s total odometry to 26.221 miles (42.198 kilometers). Olympic marathon distance is 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers).
“This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world,” said John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The long-lived rover surpassed the marathon mark during a drive of 153 feet (46.5 meters). Last year, Opportunity became the long-distance champion of all off-Earth vehicles when it topped the previous record set by the former Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 moon rover. [source]
This map shows the southward path driven by Opportunity from late December 2014 until it passed marathon distance on March 24, 2015, during the 3,968th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars. Recent drives bring the vehicle close to a science destination called “Marathon Valley” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover team is using instruments on Opportunity to study “Spirit of St. Louis Crater” before entry into Marathon Valley.
Opportunity reached the Sol 3881 location near the top of the map on Dec. 24, 2015. A map showing wider context of Opportunity’s route from its January 2004 landing in Eagle Crater to Endeavour Crater is at PIA18404. A view from the Sol 3893 location at the summit of “Cape Tribulation,” taken the following sol, is at PIA19109. [source]
The gold line on this image shows Opportunity’s route from the landing site inside Eagle Crater, in upper left, to its location after the Sol 3968 drive. The mission has been investigating on the western rim of Endeavour Crater since August 2011. This crater spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The mapped area is all within the Meridiani Planum region of equatorial Mars, which was chosen as Opportunity’s landing area because of earlier detection of the mineral hematite from orbit. North is up. [source]