NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, launched in 2004, has now driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world. It broke the off-Earth roving distance record yesterday after it accrued 25 miles of driving on the Red Planet. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer (0.6 miles) and was never designed for distance," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas. "But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance." Opportunity has been exploring the Endeavor Crater since 2011, where it has examined outcrops on the crater's rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals. The sites are yielding evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at Opportunity's landing site. The Mars Exploration Rover Project is one element of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s.
Posted Monday, July 28th 2014 @ 4pm by WOOD RADIO NEWS TEAM