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NASA Announces Next Mars Rover, and Opportunity Sets Distance Record

By Evan Ackerman

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You know what the most amazing robot ever is? The Opportunity Mars rover. It’s not the fastest, or the strongest, or the cleverest. But, in terms of the magnitude of things that it’s done that are otherwise too dull, dirty, or dangerous for humans to do, it absolutely wins. Thing one is getting to Mars. Thing two is doing science on Mars. Thing three (and this is the big one) is still doing science on Mars.

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Opportunity‘s longevity has surprised even its creators. In fact, during the time the rover has been doing science on Mars, NASA designed, built, and landed a bigger and more powerful rover, Curiosity, on Mars. Now NASA has decided on the science payload for a third rover program that is expected to launch to Mars in 2020, and they’ve just announced what it’ll be able to do that previous rovers can’t…. [Read more]


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