Beleaguered NASA got a one-ton shot in the arm today when its Mars rover Curiorsity touched down inside an ancient crater on the red planet, according to NASA.
It's a historic touch down, as the mission marks the most complex landing on Mars, and NASA's first astrobiological mission since the 1970's.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued the following statement:
Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars—or if the planet can sustain life in the future.
This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030's, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.
The Pacific Northwest is tied to the mission, as the engines were made by Redmond-based Aerojet.
Obama congratulated NASA with the following Tweets:
"Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history."
"I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality."
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