NASA's Beloved Curiosity Rover Hasn't Even Driven a Whole Mile Yet

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See how it stacks up with other extra-planetary exploration in one chart.

Lunokhod_1_(high_resolution).jpg

Lunkhod 1 (Wikimedia Commons)

NASA's Curiosity Rover arrived on Mars last August to much fanfare, but it's trails on the planet so far are pretty meager -- not even a mile. Extra-planetary rovers travel slowly. In fact, all of the man-made rovers combined, both Lunar and Martian, have only explored a grand total of 113 miles -- less than what you would cover in two hours on a highway without traffic.

A new chart from Space.com's Karl Tate gives the breakdown so far.

distances-driven-moon-mars-130123a-02.jpg

You've got to hand it to the Mars Rover Opportunity, which today celebrates its ninth anniversary of life on the Red Planet. If it can last just a little longer, it stands a chance of overtaking the Apollo 17 vehicle, and maybe even Lunokhod 2, which set the record for distance driven on a land other than Earth in 1973.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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