The team that successfully landed the one-ton Curiosity Mars rover on the Red Planet last week got a congratulatory phone call from the President.
Aboard Air Force One
Hailing NASA's "mind-boggling" Mars landing of the Curiosity rover, President Barack Obama urged the scientists operating the craft on Monday to phone home immediately if they find any extra-terrestrials.
"If in fact you do make contact with Martians, please let me know right away," Obama told controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. "I've got a lot of other things on my plate, but I suspect that that will go to the top of the list. Even if they're just microbes, it will be pretty exciting."
Obama spoke by phone from Air Force One as he flew to a campaign stop in the state of Iowa eight days after the car-sized rover landed on the Martian surface. The touchdown followed a complex series of maneuvers involving intricately timed rocket firings, a huge parachute and cables lowering the craft to the Mars surface.