Zee Media Bureau
Washington: NASA`s Opportunity Mars rover has now become the first vehicle to travel farther than any other man made vehicle on the surface of another world.
Landing on Mars in 2004, Opportunity now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union`s Lunokhod 2 rover which landed on the Moon in 1973.
"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. 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."
According to NASA, if the rover can continue to operate the distance of a marathon-about 42.2 kilometres, it will approach the next major investigation site mission scientists have dubbed "Marathon Valley."
The figures are based on calculations recently made using images from NASA`s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) cameras that reveal Lunokhod 2`s tracks, the US space agency said.
Opportunity is now exploring the Endeavour Crater on Mars.
With Agency inputs