Both Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit had a top speed of 180 meters/hour on flat hard ground, but their hazard avoidance software caused them to stop every 10 seconds for 20 seconds to observe and understand the terrain into which they had driven, so their average speed was 36 m/h.

Curiosity could travel up to 90 m/h but its average speed was 30 m/h, and its maximum terrain-traverse speed was estimated to be 200 m/sol.

What was the longest distance in one sol each rover drove, and when? Please provide references for the answers.

  • $\begingroup$ The answers are in "Robotic Exploration of the Solar System: Part 3" but I just returned that to the library last week! $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '19 at 1:55

I have an answer for only the MERs and MSL. I have no idea how to find this information for Sojourner.

For Curiosity: 144.04m on Sol 385 (source). I processed that data in excel, but I don't know how to upload an excel file. The data does include some sols with multiple traverses, but I accounted for that so the 144.04m figure is in fact the longest single day's drive.

For the MERs: I do not have a link, but I reached out to Dr. Raymond Arvidson, the deputy PI for the MERs. He reached out to his computer systems manager, who gave me the following email answer:

Hi Michael – The maximum distance that each MER travelled in a single day was: Spirit (MER-A) – 114.2m on sol 125, May 10, 2004 Opportunity (MER-B) – 228.1m on sol 410, March 20, 2005 Fun fact: the sol 410 drive was part of a sustained effort during which Opportunity drove an average of 191.2m on each of seven consecutive drive sols (406, 407, 408, 410, 412, 413, and 414).

So, kudos to both Ray Arvidson and Thomas Stein for the MER stuff.

  • $\begingroup$ You could save the data as a comma separated value (csv) file and then copy-paste it to your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Sep 29 '19 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ It is 717 lines long, though... $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '19 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Upload to Google DOC and copy-paste link to answer $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Sep 30 '19 at 10:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I see no need for sharing a spreadsheet. You have linked the data, and you have a numerical value for your answer. The processing can be reproduced by anyone. $\endgroup$ Sep 30 '19 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ Sols 1127, 1260, 1512, 1591 and 1730 have more than one drive, for those wanting to rank them by distance driven. None of those are long enough combined to challenge Sol 385. $\endgroup$ Sep 30 '19 at 10:40

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