The Opportunity rover landed on Mars way back in 2004. Now, NASA reports that it’s clocked up 40km of driving on the Red Planet — setting a record for the longest distance a vehicle has driven outside Earth.
Opportunity snatches the titles from the previous best, the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover, which drove 39km on the moon in 1973. The nicest part of the story? Opportunity was only set to serve for a single year — so to still be going is an amazing achievement.
This map, and the full version below, shows the path it’s taken so far. And no, it’s not set to retire just yet: NASA engineers hope to at least reck up 42km, and reach what they have now called “Marathon Valley.” Clever. Something tells us this tenacious little vehicle will manage it. [NASA]