Blogarchiv

Samstag, 18. August 2012 - 23:00 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News-Sol 12

 

-

Readying ChemCam This image shows the calibration target for the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover. The calibration target is one square and a group of nine circles that look dark in the black-and-white image. The calibration target set can be seen in the middle left in this image, to the right of the rover's power source. The materials used in these circles are the types of materials scientists anticipated they might encounter on Mars. The square is a titanium alloy with a painted edge.

An annotated version indicates where the target is.

The ChemCam instrument will be firing a series of powerful, but invisible, laser pulses at a target rock or soil. It is located on the rover's mast, near the Navigation camera that took this image. A telescopic camera known as the remote micro-imager will show the context of the spots hit with the laser.

This image was taken by the right-side Navigation camera on Aug. 16, 2012.

-

Pre-Launch Calibration Target for ChemCam This image shows the calibration target for the Chemistry and Camera instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover before it was installed on the rover and readied for launch.

The target includes nine circles of materials scientists expect to see on Mars and one titanium square with a painted edge. According to the numbering in this image, the circles in the top row show four glass samples likely to represent Mars igneous rock compositions, plus a graphite rod on the right side. The bottom row shows four ceramic samples representing Mars sedimentary rock compositions and a titanium plate for wavelength calibration and laser diagnostic tests.

-

Checking out ChemCam's View This mosaic shows the calibration target for the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover, as seen by the ChemCam's remote micro-imager. The 10 images incorporated in this mosaic were taken on Aug. 15.

The ChemCam instrument will be firing a series of powerful, but invisible, laser pulses at a target rock or soil. It is located on the rover's mast. A telescopic camera known as the remote micro-imager will show the context of the spots hit with the laser.

The calibration target has nine circles of different materials that scientists think the rover might encounter on Mars and one titanium-alloy square with a painted edge. The assembly is 5 inches (13 centimeters) long and incorporates targets fabricated in France and at Los Alamos National Laboratory in a metal body fabricated at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. In these images, scientists can see that the targets have different textures. Also visible in the titanium square are pits from laser firing tests before launch.

ChemCam's imager was provided by the French space agency (CNES) and was flight- qualified by the Institute of Space Astrophysics in Orsay, France (IAS).

-

Curiosity sends back raw images for current and prior Sols based on commands sent by the mission team. The rover uses orbiters to relay back a lot of its data, and maximizes each opportunity when they pass by overhead. Curiosity stores any data not transmitted onboard. The rover will send back this data on later Sols according to the mission team's science and engineering priorities. That means these pages update whenever data comes back. Images are filed in the Sol the rover took the picture, not the Sol on which the rover sent the image back to Earth. Check back frequently for more discoveries from Mars!

Black spaces typically mean partial data has arrived, but Curiosity will fill in the rest of the data as soon as possible.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3 (2012-08-09 05:54:41 UTC) .

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

 


3548 Views

Samstag, 18. August 2012 - 19:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Spanien sendet Mond-Rover im Jahre 2014 zum Mond

 

Chinese firm to send Spanish rover to moon in 2014

   

China Great Wall Industry Corporation will send a Spanish rover to the moon in June 2014, according to the Galactic Suite company which heads the "Barcelona Moon Team" that is competing in the Google Lunar X Prize contest to the moon.

The rover will be launched by a Long March 2C/CTS-2 rocket from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The Barcelona Moon Team is the only team based in Spain to take part in the Google Lunar X Prize, which challenges participants to create a robot that can move over the lunar surface and send live images back to Earth before December 2015.

-


3372 Views

Samstag, 18. August 2012 - 16:31 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Raumfahrt, Science Fiction und Fantasy treffen sich bei den Space Days 2012

 

-


Am 18. und 19. August findet mit den "Darmstadt Space Days" zum achten Mal die europaweit größte Modellbauausstellung im Bereich Science Fiction, Raumfahrt und Fantasy statt. Alle Interessierten sind herzlich eingeladen. Die ESA ist mit Vorträgen und Exponaten vertreten.
 
Auf rund 600 qm Ausstellungsfläche können Weltraum und Science Fiction begeisterte Besucher Modelle, Raumschiffe, Fantasyfiguren, Dioramen und Nachbildungen bewundern. Auch verschiedene Ausrüstungsgegenstände aus einschlägigen Serien und Filmen, phantasievolle Eigen- und Umbauten werden gezeigt. Mehrere Fangruppen zeigen sich zudem in bunten Kostümen, die im Rahmen eines Wettbewerbs prämiert werden. 

-

-

Vorträge von Raumfahrtexperten der ESA
 
Am Samstag, den 18. August, um 13.30h präsentiert Dipl.-Ing. Rainer Kresken, Experte für Flugdynamik am Europäischen Satellitenkontrollzentrum ESOC unter dem Titel "Flaschenpost an die Außerirdischen" die berühmte amerikanische Pioneer-10 Mission, die mit grundsätzlichen Botschaften der Menschheit in die Tiefen des Alls unterwegs ist.

Am Sonntag, den 19. August, um 14.30h wird ESA-Experte und Missions-Analytiker Dr. Markus Landgraf den Vortrag "Mondflüsterer" halten, um auf die weitere Erkundung unseres Erdtrabanten einzustimmen und den aktuellen Stand der Wissenschaft zu präsentieren.

Die "Darmstadt Space Days" sind eine privat organisierte, unabhängige Modellbau-Ausstellung für den Bereich Science Fiction, Raumfahrt, Fantasy und verwandte Themen. Sie werden vom Science Fiction Club Deutschland und dem Science Fiction Treff Darmstadt veranstaltet.
 
 
Öffnungszeiten
 
Samstag, den 18.08.2012: 13 bis 19 Uhr
Sonntag, den 19.08.2012: 10 bis 18 Uhr

Veranstaltungsort

Bürgermeister-Pohl-Haus
Im Appensee 26
64291 Darmstadt, OT Wixhausen

Programm, Eintrittspreise & weitere Informationen:

www.spacedays.de

Quelle: ESA


3240 Views

Samstag, 18. August 2012 - 15:48 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity vor erster Fahrt

 

-

NASA Curiosity Team Pinpoints Site for First Drive, First Laser Use On Tap This Weekend

 
 

WASHINGTON -- The scientists and engineers of NASA's Curiosity rover mission have selected the first destination for their one-ton, six-wheeled mobile Mars laboratory. The target area, named Glenelg, is a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. The choice was described by Curiosity Principal Investigator John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology during a media teleconference on Aug. 17.

"With such a great landing spot in Gale Crater, we literally had every degree of the compass to choose from for our first drive," Grotzinger said. "We had a bunch of strong contenders. It is the kind of dilemma planetary scientists dream of, but you can only go one place for the first drilling for a rock sample on Mars. That first drilling will be a huge moment in the history of Mars exploration."

The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target.

"We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road," Grotzinger said. "Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us."

Prior to the rover's trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.

"Rock N165 looks like your typical Mars rock, about three inches wide. It's about 10 feet away," said Roger Wiens, principal investigator of the ChemCam instrument from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "We are going to hit it with 14 millijoules of energy 30 times in 10 seconds. It is not only going to be an excellent test of our system, it should be pretty cool too."

Mission engineers are devoting more time to planning the first roll of Curiosity. In the coming days, the rover will exercise each of its four steerable (front and back) wheels, turning each of them side-to-side before ending up with each wheel pointing straight ahead. On a later day, the rover will drive forward about one rover-length (10 feet, or 3 meters), turn 90 degrees, and then kick into reverse for about 7 feet (2 meters).

"There will be a lot of important firsts that will be taking place for Curiosity over the next few weeks, but the first motion of its wheels, the first time our roving laboratory on Mars does some actual roving, that will be something special," said Michael Watkins, mission manager for Curiosity from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Quelle: NASA

-

On Saturday night, Curiosity is due to use its laser blaster for the first time, taking 30 shots at a poor little rock known as N165. In the coming days, the rover also will analyze the rocks that have been exposed at a blast mark known as Goulburn Scour, which was left behind by Curiosity's rocket-powered sky-crane descent stage during the Aug. 5 landing. And it will take its first test drive, going about 10 feet (3 meters) to limber up for its first long-distance journey.

-

-

A photo from the Curiosity rover's Mastcam imaging system shows rover hardware in the foreground and highlights the location of a rock known as N165, which is the first target for the ChemCam laser zapper.

'Target practice' for laser zapper
The mission's purpose is to analyze Martian rock and soil to determine whether the planet's chemistry could have supported life in Mars' ancient past, when the planet was wetter and warmer than it is today. The car-sized, 1-ton Curiosity rover has 10 scientific instruments to do the job — including its ChemCam imaging system, which incorporates a laser powerful enough to vaporize tiny spots of rock.

N165, a 3-inch-wide (7.5-centimeter-wide) rock sitting on the ground about 10 feet (3 meters) from the rover, would be the first target for the laser zapper, said Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory who is the ChemCam team's prinicipal investigator. About 30 laser blasts would be aimed at the rock over the course of 10 seconds.

"This is sort of target practice, if you will," Wiens said.

Each 14-millijoule laser pulse briefly focuses the energy equivalent of a million light bulbs onto an area the size of a pinhead. The flashes of light given off by the mini-blasts of plasma are captured by ChemCam's imaging system and routed through fiber optics to a spectrometer inside the rover. By checking the spectrum of the light, scientists can figure out the composition of the material vaporized by each zap. 

Wiens said he expected N165 to be the kind of garden-variety basalt rock typically found on Mars. He and his colleagues are more interested in finding out whether ChemCam can discriminate between the rock's dusty coating and the minerals beneath the coating. That's why the rock is being blasted so many times in succession. The first results could be revealed early next week, Wiens said.

"Our team has waited eight long years to get to this date," Wiens said.

Instruments coming to life
Grotzinger said the checkouts for all of Curiosity's scientific instruments are going well. Just today, the neutron-generating device known as DAN (Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons) was turned on while another instrument called RAD (Radiation Assessment Detector) monitored the radiation that DAN was giving off, he said.

The rover's weather station, dubbed REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station), is already providing temperature readings: Grotzinger said the high temperature on Mars over the past day was just above freezing (276 Kelvin, which is 37 degrees Fahrenheit or 2.85 degrees Celsius).

"It's been exactly 30 years since the last long-duration-monitoring weather station was present on Mars," he said. "That was when the Viking 1 lander stopped communicating with the earth. That was back in 1982, so 30 years later we're happy to be on the surface doing that monitoring again."

The instrument checkout should be complete "toward the end of next week," Grotzinger said. At one time, he had suggested that the blast marks left behind by the descent stage, just yards away from the rover's landing site, might be a good first target for detailed sampling. But today, Grotzinger said that the exposed bedrock at Goulburn Scour appeared to be a loosely held-together combination of material. "This rock is really not a good one for the first drilling," he said.

So instead, scientists will examine the blast marks with Curiosity's cameras, perhaps including ChemCam, and then most likely move on. The blast marks have been given names that reflect their fiery genesis: Goulburn, Burnside, Hepburn and Sleepy Dragon. "The theme here is heat," Grotzinger said.

The first samples could well be scooped from the Martian surface at some point between the landing site, which is in a quadrant that's been nicknamed Yellowknife, and the Glenelg site, Grotzinger said. Those samples could be ground up and deposited into a couple of onboard chemical laboratories called CheMin and SAM (which stand for "Chemistry and Mineralogy" and "Surface Analysis at Mars," respectively). "That first scooping activity is really important," Grotzinger said.

Quelle: NASA+NBC-News


3366 Views

Samstag, 18. August 2012 - 00:12 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity vor ersten Roll-Out

 

 

This NASA graphic released before the Mars rover Curiosity's Aug. 5, 2012, landing shows one possible route up the nearby Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater.The blue line indicates the potential driving route to geological destinations identified from orbit.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

-

NASA will hold a press conference today (Aug. 17) to give a status update on the Mars rover Curiosity, which is poised to take its first drive on the Red Planet next week.

The briefing will take place at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT) in a teleconference that will be webcast online for the public.

-

Members of the Curiosity rover's mission control team look into the camera for a group portrait at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in advance of a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat session.

Update: 18.08.2012 / 0.15 MESZ

PASADENA, Calif. -- The scientists and engineers of NASA's Curiosity rover mission have selected the first driving destination for their one-ton, six-wheeled mobile Mars laboratory. The target area, named Glenelg, is a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. The choice was described by Curiosity Principal Investigator John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology during a media teleconference on Aug. 17.

"With such a great landing spot in Gale Crater, we literally had every degree of the compass to choose from for our first drive," Grotzinger said. "We had a bunch of strong contenders. It is the kind of dilemma planetary scientists dream of, but you can only go one place for the first drilling for a rock sample on Mars. That first drilling will be a huge moment in the history of Mars exploration."

The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east-southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target.

"We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road," Grotzinger said. "Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us."

Prior to the rover's trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted, rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, Aug. 18, ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.

"Rock N165 looks like your typical Mars rock, about three inches wide. It's about 10 feet away," said Roger Wiens, principal investigator of the ChemCam instrument from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "We are going to hit it with 14 millijoules of energy 30 times in 10 seconds. It is not only going to be an excellent test of our system, it should be pretty cool too."

Mission engineers are devoting more time to planning the first roll of Curiosity. In the coming days, the rover will exercise each of its four steerable (front and back) wheels, turning each of them side-to-side before ending up with each wheel pointing straight ahead. On a later day, the rover will drive forward about one rover-length (10 feet, or 3 meters), turn 90 degrees, and then kick into reverse for about 7 feet (2 meters).

"There will be a lot of important firsts that will be taking place for Curiosity over the next few weeks, but the first motion of its wheels, the first time our roving laboratory on Mars does some actual roving, that will be something special," said Michael Watkins, mission manager for Curiosity from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.


3361 Views

Freitag, 17. August 2012 - 10:14 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Mars-Rover-Curiosity

 

+

-


3428 Views

Mittwoch, 15. August 2012 - 22:20 Uhr

Luftfahrt - X-51-Hypersonic vor weiterem 300 Sekunden-Testflug

 

-

Key test set for sustained hypersonic flight

The unmanned experimental aircraft X-51A WaveRider is expected to fly above the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu at Mach 6 for 300 seconds Tuesday.

On Tuesday a key test is set for the unmanned experimental aircraft X-51A WaveRider. It will take the aircraft — attached to a B-52 bomber's wing — from Edwards to about 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu. From there, its high-speed journey at Mach 6 is expected to last only 300 seconds, but that's twice as long as it's ever gone at that speed.

Aerospace engineers say that harnessing technology capable of sustaining hypersonic speeds is crucial to the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, spacecraft — and even passenger planes.

"Attaining sustained hypersonic flight is like going from propeller-driven aircraft to jet aircraft," said Robert A. Mercier, deputy for technology in the high speed systems division at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio. "Since the Wright brothers, we have examined how to make aircraft better and faster. Hypersonic flight is one of those areas that is a potential frontier for aeronautics. I believe we're standing in the door waiting to go into that arena."

NASA and the Pentagon are financing three national centers across the country to study hypersonic flight. The Pentagon's research arm, known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, calls hypersonic flight "the new stealth" for its promise of evading and outrunning enemy fire. The effort to develop hypersonic engines is necessary because they can propel vehicles at a velocity that cannot be achieved from traditional turbine-powered jet engines.

The Pentagon believes that hypersonic missiles are the best way to hit a target in an hour or less. The only vehicle that the military currently has in its inventory with that kind of capability is the massive, nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Other means of hitting a distant target, such as cruise missiles and long-range bomber planes, can take hours to reach their destination.

When pressed for an example of the need, military officials often point to a 1998 attack when the U.S. militarytried — and failed — to kill Osama bin Laden. Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea lobbed cruise missiles at training camps in Afghanistan, hitting their targets — 80 minutes later. By then, Bin Laden was gone.

But with a hypersonic missile, such as the technology being tested on the WaveRider, "the attack would have been cut to just over 12 minutes," Richard Hallion, a former Air Force senior advisor, said in an Air Force Assn. report about hypersonic technology.

The Pentagon itself is funding six major hypersonic technology programs. Over the last 10 years, the Pentagon said it spent as much as $2 billion on hypersonic technologies and supporting engineering.

The WaveRider program is estimated to cost $140 million, according to Globalsecurity.org, a website for military policy research.

Yet the funding has turned up few positive results.

One of the more recent attempts was in August 2011 when DARPA carried out a test flight of an arrowhead-shaped unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2. It's designed to travel at 20 times the speed of sound. The launch had received worldwide attention and much fanfare, but minutes into the flight, searing high speeds caused portions of the Falcon's skin to peel from the aerostructure and the flight ended prematurely.

Engineers at Boeing Co.'s research center in Huntington Beach and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park thought they were on the right track with the WaveRider program in May 2010 when the WaveRider made its first flight. In that flight, the WaveRider sped westward for about 143 seconds at 3,500 mph before plunging into the ocean as planned.

But in June 2011 in another WaveRider flight a lapse in airflow to the jet engine caused a premature shutdown.

After the flight, Charlie Brink, the Air Force Research Laboratory's program manager, said the WaveRider attempted to restart but was unsuccessful. "Obviously we're disappointed and expected better results," he said at the time. "But we are very pleased with the data collected on this flight."

Brink and his team try again on a test flight scheduled for Tuesday. The WaveRider will fall like a bomb for about four seconds over the Pacific before its booster rocket engine ignites and propels the nearly wingless aircraft for 30 seconds to about Mach 4.5, before being jettisoned.

Then the cruiser's scramjet engine, notable because it has virtually no moving parts, ignites. The ignition sequence begins burning ethylene, transitioning over about 10 seconds to JP-7 jet fuel — the same fuel once used by the famed Lockheed Corp.-made SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.

The WaveRider is expected to accelerate to about Mach 6 as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet.

After 300 seconds of flight, the WaveRider is set to break up after splashing into the Pacific, as planned. There are no plans to recover the WaveRider.

The cruiser is designed to ride its own shock wave. That's how the X-51 earned the WaveRider nickname.

"The X-51 is a technology feeder to larger, more sustained flight times," said Darryl W. Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, which built the cruiser. "The hope is to advance the state of the art."

Dora Musielak, an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Texas at Arlington whose research focuses on high-speed propulsion, said aircraft like the WaveRider are crucial to commercial planes one day flying nonstop at high speeds from one side of the earth to the other. Other than the turbojet-powered Concorde retired in 2003, commercial transportation has not advanced beyond the speed of sound.

"It is always a dream to see an airplane fly faster," Musielak said, noting that there's still an enormous amount of hypersonic development work ahead. "Once the military proves out the concept, hypersonic transport becomes a step closer to reality."

Quelle: Los Angeles Times

 

Update; 15.08,2012

Der US-Test  mit  Hypersonic-X-51  welches sechsfache Schallgeschwindigkeit erreichen sollte  ist fehlgeschlagen.

Demnach löste sich der Hyperschalljet X-51A Waverider (Wellenreiter) bei dem Testflug am Dienstag zwar planmäßig von dem B-52-Bomber, der ihn über den Pazifik getragen hatte.

Doch nur 16 Sekunden später sei ein Problem mit einem Kontrollruder festgestellt worden, kurz danach sei die Maschine verloren gegangen, meldeten der Sender CNN und die "Washington Post".

Der Bomber war vom Luftwaffenstützpunkt Edwards in Kalifornien aufgestiegen. Der Waverider sollte nach dem Abkoppeln für 300 Sekunden die Geschwindigkeit von 7000 Kilometern pro Stunde erreichen. Mit einem solchen Tempo wäre die Strecke von London von New York in rund einer Stunde zurückzulegen.

Quelle: US Air Force


3340 Views

Dienstag, 14. August 2012 - 22:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erfolgreicher Gleitflug von SpaceShipTwo

 

-

SpaceShipTwo made another successful glide flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Saturday morning. The space plane took off under its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft at 6:57 a.m. PDT. It glided to a landing about an hour later after a brief glide flight. WhiteKnightTwo conducted touch-and-gos on the runway for about a half hour before touching down at around 8:27 a.m. PDT.

-

Foto: Virgin-Galactic


3512 Views

Dienstag, 14. August 2012 - 21:14 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity im Focus von HIRISE

 -

 

This color-enhanced view shows the terrain around the rover's landing site within Gale Crater on Mars. It was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

 

-

Destination Mount Sharp

This image from NASA's Curiosity rover looks south of the rover's landing site on Mars towards Mount Sharp. This is part of a larger,high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera.

In this version of the image, colors have been modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by color in more familiar lighting.

The image provides an overview of the eventual geological targets Curiosity will explore over the next two years, starting with the rock-strewn, gravelly surface close by, and extending towards the dark dunefield. Beyond that lie the layered buttes and mesas of the sedimentary rock of Mount Sharp.

The images in this mosaic were acquired by the 34-millimeter Mastcam over about an hour of time on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, 2012 EDT), each at 1,200 by 1,200 pixels in size.

-

Fotos+Quelle: NASA


3523 Views

Montag, 13. August 2012 - 22:42 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Obama gratuliert Mars-Rover-Team

 

-

PASADENA, Calif. – President Barack Obama called members of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover team at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday to congratulate them on the "incredibly impressive" mission.

"We could not be more excited," said the President, telling the team that "it's really mind boggling what you've been able to accomplish."

The president also noted his administration's focus on engineering and science and math and said that Curiosity is inspiring kids across the country.

"You know, they're telling their Moms and Dads they want to be part of a Mars mission, maybe even the first person to walk on Mars," said the president. He also said that the quest for knowledge represented by missions like Curiosity is "really what makes us best as a species, this curiosity that we have and this yearning to discover and know more."

President Obama's call comes a week after Curiosity landed on the Red Planet. Curiosity carries the most advanced science payload ever used on Mars' surface. During the next two years, it will use its 10 instruments to investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.

In addition to praising the team's hard work, the president also joked about finding Martians and noted the popularity of the "Mohawk guy," flight director Bobak Ferdowsi.

"You guys are a little cooler than you used to be," he said.


3579 Views