Space Update: Lunokhod 2 Still Holds the Rover Travel Record

Turns out that the NASA rover, Opportunity, is still Number 2 when it comes to distance traveled on non-Earth surfaces. Revised data shows Lunokhod 2, the intrepid Soviet era lunar rover traveled 42 kilometers in its lifetime, 5 kilometers longer than the official mission logs.

In my blog posting of June 6 I had stated that Lunokhod 2 held the record at 37 kilometers and Opportunity was still at 35.76 and approaching Lunokhod’s feat. But it turns out that revised calculations done by Moscow State University based on imagery from the Lunokhod 2 landing site puts the record at between 42.1 and 42.2 kilometers. The confusion on the actual record is blamed on a ninth wheel that dragged rather than spun around creating false readings.

By the way Opportunity passed 36.75 kilometers on June 15. So under 6 kilometers to go before the Mars rover takes away the Soviet mark set over 40 years ago.

Lunokhod & Opportunity Rovers

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...