It has been 10 years since NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars, marking a historic moment in time. What might be even more noteworthy is the original mission was only meant to be a 90 Mars day (sol) mission, ten years on it is still taking measurements and sending information about Mars back to earth.

The Mars Exploration Rover-B (MER-B), as can be imagined, was planned with meticulous accuracy and was built to withstand many extreme external conditions such as freezing temperatures, and gale force winds. The original mission was to characterize minerals, rocks and soil on Mars, so we might begin to answer many of the questions we have about the origins of our solar system and life. The MER-B was originally planned to make these experiments relatively close to its original target landing site, but to date MER-B has covered at least 24 miles and has successfully managed some difficult maneuvers in doing so.

MER-B was also equipped to specifically determine any iron containing minerals, and generally to ascertain if the Martian environment was fit for life.

To do this the MER-B was fitted with a host of instruments; Alpha X-ray spectrometer, Moessbauer spectrometer, panoramic and hazard avoidance cameras, microscopic imager, miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and rock abrasion tool.

Ten years on and Opportunity (named after a student competition)  is still fully operational, its achievement a legacy to all those involved in the programme. Still returning data and pictures to earth, providing us with valuable information, which will continue to shape and enrich our lives.