The president called the daring landing of the one-ton rover on the Red Planet and 'unprecedented feat of technology.'
NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars in a daredevil maneuver that used a rocket-powered sky crane to lower the 1-ton robot safely to the Martian surface after plunging through the planet's atmosphere. Never before had the maneuver been attempted and, by all accounts, it was a spectacular success.
"Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history," President Obama said in a statement. "The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination."
President Obama said the Mars rover feat paralleled the U.S. push into private spaceflight efforts to build American spacecraft, adding that the country's preeminence in space and on Earth hinges on its investments in innovation and technology. [1st Photos of Mars by Curiosity Rover (Gallery)]