Opportunity Rover Passes 10-Mile Mark on Mars
This mosaic of frames from the navigation camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity gives a view to the northeast from the rover's position on its 1,687th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 22, 2008).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

After more than five years on Mars, NASA?s tireless Opportunity rover trundled past the 10-mile mark on its odometer while on its way to its next target, Endeavor Crater, the agency said today.

Opportunity reached this marker after a 50-meter (164-feet) drive on sol 1,897 (sols are Martian days, which are about 40 minutes longer than Earth days). The rover's total odometry now sits at 16,133.96 meters or 10.025 miles.

"For a vehicle that was designed to travel 1 km over its lifetime, going 16+ km is a pretty substantial accomplishment!" said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in an email to SPACE.com. Squyres is the lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Project.

Opportunity and its twin rover Spirit landed on Mars in January 2004 on a mission to study the history of water on the red planet.

Scientists recently reported the results of Opportunity's two-year stint at Victoria Crater, which revealed that the whole region the crater lies in was likely shaped by water and winds that blew up huge sand dunes.

On the other side of the planet, Spirit is currently stuck up to its hubcaps in soft dirt. Mission controllers are working on ways to get the rover out and back on its way around the plateau Home Plate feature.