back to article Nine-year-old Opportunity Mars rover sets NASA distance record

The never-say-die little rover that could, Opportunity, has set a new distance record for extraterrestrial NASA vehicles. Distance records for lunar and Martian rovers Opportunity has bested larger and faster rovers (click to enlarge) On Thursday, Opportunity's handlers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, …


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  1. Blain Hamon

    Plan for 90 days, run for 9 years? Here's to you!

    Would that all of our kit last over 36 times our warranty!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plan for 90 days, run for 9 years? Here's to you!

      I think we're paying 21% annual maintenance though....

    2. MrT

      it's a GM warranty...

      ... and the 100,000mile limit includes the flight from earth, unfortunately.

      This little rover is seriously impressive though, no doubt.

  2. stizzleswick

    Now for Opportunity to...

    ...outlast Pioneer I and II, both of which are still active after over 35 years ... hey, one may always hope!

    1. The lone lurker

      Re: Now for Opportunity to...

      You're thinking of Voyager 1 and 2! Pioneers 1 and 2 were built to study cislunar space but in both cases the third stage of the rocket failed only allowing a ballistic flight. Both probes lasted less than a day before re-entering Earth's atmosphere!

      This was all in the days before the USA had really started to use their Germans to build rockets so they had a tendency to fail often!

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Now for Opportunity to...

        "Both probes lasted less than a day before re-entering Earth's atmosphere!"

        Yes but one of them now works at a bar in Bristol and the other one teaches dance at the royal academy in London, so technically speaking they have both been active for 35 years, even through the recession.

        1. The lone lurker

          Re: Now for Opportunity to...

          I have read and re-read your comment, then I read it again. I still have not the faintest idea what you're talking about.

      2. stizzleswick
        Thumb Up

        @The lone lurker

        You are, of course, correct!

  3. Jim 48

    Obligatory xkcd(ish)

    I know it references Spirit rather than Opportunity, but the same principles apply;

    Also, I'm surprised how little we've actually covered the Moon or Mars, if I'd thought about it before I'd would have probably guessed at hundreds of miles, not twenties.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Obligatory xkcd(ish)

      Almost brought a tear to my eye!

    2. Maharg

      Re: Obligatory xkcd(ish)

      That cartoon made me sad, in terms of sad yet funny animation its up there with the first 10 minutes fo the film Up and this moment from Futurama

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Obligatory xkcd(ish)

        Arghh don't mention Up you'll get me blubbing like a girl again

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now if you combined both

    Opportunity + Spirit combined !!

  5. ChrisM

    Planned for 90 days, still going after 9 years...

    Sounds like some projects I have seen in the commercial world... Ateast this one has delivered!

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Planned for 90 days, still going after 9 years...

      Sounds like most "temporary solutions"...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Apollo boys still hold the Extraterrestrial Land Speed Record (R) ? Niiiiiiiiice !

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Put like that, maybe NASA could get sponsoring from Ferrari to up the ante on that front

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Engineering commentary: Bloody good show, chaps! Seriously well built bit of kit.

    Management commentary: Clearly over-engineered. For the next one cut the budget.

    1. garbo


      Especially when weight is a serious design factor. I recall the doyen of motor racing theory, Laurence Pomeroy, saying that the "perfect racing car should disintegrate one yard over the finish line." Any farther, it was obviously over-engineered. ;-P

  8. M7S

    Another reason its lasting so long

    not enough bandwidth to cripple the OS with service packs

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

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    What do you mean you don't believe me that a 9 year old vehicle only has 22.22 miles on the clock? Are you accusing me of tampering with this vehicle? How dare you!

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  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've always loved the design of the Lunokhod rovers, classic soviet era stuff, solid and functional. "So comrade, we found this old tin bath : what if we put a lid and wheels on it, an sit it on a Proton rocket...."

    1. Aldous

      Re: Lunokhod

      Give Lord British (Richard Garriot) a ring he might sell you his one. Delivery will be a pain though

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lunokhod

      They look like faithful doggies.

  11. Ryan 7

    "Bring that all-Earth title to the red, white, and blue. —

    — Oh, wait – those are the colors of Russia's flag, as well."

    One could argue that the Lunokhod 2 record flies under a Red & Gold flag, comrade!

  12. Armando 123

    One difference

    IIRC, the Lunokhod craft were controlled from Earth. That's not possible with a martian craft, where the time lag is about 40 minutes, not 3 seconds. Still, Lunokhod 2 was damned impressive for 70s Soviet technology.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: One difference

      ...the Lunokhod craft were controlled from Earth.

      They were probably worried about the possibility of it defecting to the Imperialist Western Moon if they made it autonomous.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Look out Russia, we're coming for ya!!

    very slowly....

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