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Watch Mars Opportunity Complete the First Ever Off-Earth Marathon in this NASA Time-lapse

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Morenike Adebayo

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clockJul 10 2015, 14:25 UTC
1032 Watch Mars Opportunity Complete the First Ever Off-Earth Marathon in this NASA Time-lapse
NASA/JPL

Running a marathon over 11 years doesn’t sound all that impressive. But when you’re a robotic rover tasked with gathering information on Mars, it’s tricky work – and something’s gotta do it.

It fell to the 11-year-old Opportunity rover, officially trekking through its marathon mark (26.2 miles, about 42 kilometers) in April this year. This preteen robot has also passed its 4,000th Martian day on the Red Planet, known as a sol – a 40-minute longer Earth day.

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has released an impressive 8-minute time-lapse video (shown below) of the robot’s adventure on Mars so far.

Opportunity launched in July 2003 and landed in late January 2004 as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover program, arriving on the Red Planet three weeks after its twin, Spirit.

Surpassing its planned 92 days of service by over 11 years, the rover is showing the classic signs of aging: memory loss, becoming stuck in a sand dune for two months and closely inspecting its own discarded parts. However, the exploratory robot has no official termination date. While Opportunity is still going strong, it’ll hopefully keep sending back any important discoveries it makes on Mars.

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[H/T: The Verge]


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