Mars Rover Holds Off-Earth Distance Record

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(credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

(credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – The odometer of NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has hit 25.01 miles, breaking the record for off-Earth distance traveled.

NASA officials said Monday that Opportunity drove 157 feet over the weekend, which was enough to surpass the miles covered by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover.

NASA project manager John Callas says Opportunity was only intended to drive about 1 kilometer and was not designed for distance. He says the rover has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world.

NASA says if the rover hits 26.2 miles, it will reach the next major investigation site that scientists refer to as “Marathon Valley” — because it will have traveled the distance of a marathon.

The Russian Lunokhod 2 rover landed on Earth’s moon in 1973 and drove 24.2 miles.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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