NASA’s now-defunct Opportunity rover established a world record by traveling 722 feet (220 meters) in a single day in 2005. NASA described it as a “likely long-standing” record at the time. And it did stand until last week when the Perseverance rover broke the record.
“She completed the longest drive in a single sol by a Martian rover (the previous record having been held by Opportunity for over 17 years) and beat her record of longest AutoNav drive,” NASA JPL said in a tweet on Monday. A “sol” lasts around 24 hours and 40 minutes on Mars.
Perseverance is a beast on the road, thanks in part to its powerful auto navigation system, which allows the rover to make its own judgments while driving without requiring precise orders from a person.
“Just established a new Martian record of 243.3 meters, and then yesterday, another: 245.76 meters,” the rover team said in a tweet on Feb. 5. The more significant distance is approximately 806 feet. Perseverance is trekking over the sandy, rock-strewn Jezero Crater, which may not sound like a fantastic adventure.
The rover can be seen staring back at its tire tracks in a NASA image, which shows how it has to deal with rugged terrain and giant boulders. Martian pebbles can be painful, as the Curiosity rover has discovered.
AutoNav might allow the rover to reach a peak speed of 393 feet (120 meters) per hour, according to NASA. In comparison, the Curiosity is equipped with an older AutoNav technology that allows it to travel at a speed of around 66 feet (20 meters) per hour. As a result, Percy still has considerable room to break its record. “Places to see, rocks to view!” as NASA put it.