Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 276 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Roving Records

16 May 2013

Because the critical data from yesterday's plan won't be received until around noon Pacific time, MSL tactical planning starts later than usual today. Even though the MSL project made the transition to "Earth time" planning months ago, the schedule is still allowed to shift a few hours when necessary. Meanwhile, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars, sent data in the middle of the night and will receive commands in the afternoon Pacific time. So Opportunity planning is starting earlier than usual (7 AM PDT yesterday). I'm MAHLI uplink lead for MSL again today, but wanted to call in to the Opportunity kickoff meeting this morning to hear the latest. I was rewarded with the news that Opportunity now holds second place among extraterrestrial rovers for total distance traversed, just passing the Apollo 17 lunar rover's record of 35.74 km. First place is still held by the Russian Lunokhod 2 rover, which drove 37 km on the lunar surface. It may be a long work day for me, but operating 2 rovers on Mars is, as they say, "a nice problem to have."