Opportunity Passes Marathon Milestone
It only took eleven years and two months, but NASA's Mars Opportunity rover completed history's first off-planet marathon, driving on solar-supplied energy, a total of 26.2 miles (42 km). Originally engineered to operate for just 90 days, both Opportunity and the now-silent Spirit, lasted far longer in the harsh Martian environment than anyone as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration could have guessed.
Opportunity passed the marathon mark on March 24th, 2015 or on the 3,968th Martian day since its arrival there on January 25, 2004. As illustrated by this NASA info graph, the solar-powered robot made its way ever-so-slowly out of Eagle Crater towards Endurance Crater to the edge of larger Victoria Crater, some eight times the diameter of Endurance, finally to the rim of Endeavor Crater, some 22 km (14 miles) across.
Reports circulated in February that NASA is considering shutting down Opportunity since there is no funding for the project in the agency's 2016 budget. They will make a decision on its fate this summer. NASA still has its larger Curiosity rover actively gathering data inside the 94 mile diameter Gale Crater.
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