GREENBELT, Md., July 12 (UPI) -- A Soviet-era lunar rover went 3 miles farther on the moon 40 years ago than previously thought, images from a NASA moon orbiter have confirmed.
Images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the distance traveled by the Lunokhod 2 rover as 26 miles rather than the 23 miles previously thought, meaning the Soviet rover still holds the distance record for driving on the surface of a celestial body other than Earth.
Russian researchers have been saying for months the rover traveled the equivalent of a marathon on the moon, claims that led to new scrutiny of the Lunokhod and its location on the lunar surface, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
NASA announced last month that its Mars rover Opportunity had covered 22.22 miles in the 9 years that it has been on the Red Planet, coming close to breaking what was long believed to be the record of 23 miles set by Lunokhod 2.
Opportunity, with its average speed of about 2 feet a minute, would need year and a half to match Lunokhod 2's newly confirmed 26-mile record.