Nasa just won the first marathon on Mars

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 25 March 2015 16:20
Science and Tech
Graphic: Nasa/JPL

Nasa's Opportunity rover has just completed the first marathon on Mars, albeit in the relatively snail-like time of 11 years and two months.

Nevertheless, the feat of clocking 26.2 miles is seen as something of a landmark for the Martian explorer which has already travelled further than any other rover.

This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world. A first time happens only once.

  • John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Opportunity has been exploring the Red Planet since January 2004 - far exceeding its expected mission length - analysing the geology and water on Earth's neighbour.

Graphic: Nasa/JPL

The rover has spent the last four years traversing the giant Endeavour crater and it now sits in Marathon valley (see above) - so-named after Opportunity's recent achievement.

According to a press release from Nasa, employees at the space agency's JPL now plan to complete a marathon-length relay at their laboratory next week to celebrate.

For a full version of the top graphic click here

More: Has Curiosity found a ball on Mars? No, but, you know...

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