President Obama Calls with Congratulations for Mars Science Laboratory Team

Article written: 13 Aug , 2012
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
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US President Barack Obama called up the Mars Science Laboratory team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory today, August 13, congratulating them on the perfect landing of the Curiosity rover one week ago today.

“What you did on Mars was incredibly impressive,” the President said, “with those 76 pyrotechnics going on in perfect succession, the 500,000 lines of code working exactly the way you guys had ordered them, it’s really mind boggling what you’ve been able to accomplish. Being able to get that whole landing sequence to work the way you did, it’s a testimony to your team.”

Obama specifically congratulated Charles Elachi, the head of JPL, the entry, descent and landing lead, Adam Steltzner for the audacious Sky Crane system.

“What you accomplished embodied the American spirit and your passion and your commitment is making a difference and your hard work is now paying dividends, because our expectation is that Curiosity is going to be telling us things that we did not know before and laying the groundwork for an even more audacious undertaking in the future, and that’s a human mission to the Red Planet.”

Obama joked about letting him know right away if they find any Martians, and perhaps getting a Mohawk, just like Bobak Ferdowsi, a systems engineer in JPL’s mission control who became an unexpected “star of the show” on Sunday night’s webcast, for his American flag-themed stars and stripes Mohawk haircut.

“That’s going to be the new fashion at JPL,” Elachi replied.

“It does sound like NASA’s come a long way from the white shirts, black-rimmed glasses and the pocket protectors,” the President joked. “You guys are a little cooler than you used to be.”

Obama said his administration is putting a big focus on improving science, technology, engineering and math education; however, NASA and other science arms of the government are all facing massive cuts. Perhaps MSL has captured the President’s attention enough to, maybe, change his focus. Several people have sent messages to Obama via Twitter, such as this one:

A view of the crowd gathered at Times Square in New York City to watch the landing of Curiosity on Mars. Credit: @CSMuncyPhoto

Then Obama said, “I’m going to give you guys a personal commitment to protect these critical investments in science and technology, I thank you for devoting your lives to this cause and if, in fact, you do make contact with Martians, please let me know right away. 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 said the incredible landing of Curiosity is the kind of thing that inspires kids across the country. “They are telling their moms and dads they want to be part of a Mars mission, maby even the first person to walk on Mars. That kind of inspiration is a by-product of the work that you have done.”

“You guys have done an outstanding job, you’ve made us all proud… you are examples of American know-how and ingenuity and we can’t wait to start hearing back from Curiosity and finding on what is going on.”

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12 Responses

  1. lemme think, we can either start one or two new wars or launch from the same monies 100 space rockets…what shall it be …naah, better the war.

  2. Member
    Aqua4U says

    An “Olympic moment?” Yasss.. indeed! USA! USA! USA! Rightly so, this country is the hope of mankind. Our partners understand that, and we are grateful. One of the reasons they DO understand that is because we are made up of their ez-patriots. Our mix is our blessing. We look at problems with that backing plethora or humanity. Thanks to us all!

    • SJStar says

      I’ll bite. IMO it is more like paradise lost. Chants and hubris combined with a lack of the virtues like humility, clearly shows that the plead for helping humanity is a simple ruse. Americans self-loving is just that, and in essence they are only out for themselves. Our real blessing would be to seen them taken down just a peg or two just for being such condescending prigs. So be it.

      • Member
        Aqua4U says

        Thanks, but I still prefer optimism and I will continue to have great hopes for my country. This conversation depends entirely on whether one chooses the ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ glass? Yes, we have our problems, lots of them.. what country doesn’t? But still… I like this mix! We americans are after all, a combination of all the nations and if together we can’t figure our way out of this mess, then who will?

  3. It was very kind of president Obama to send his congratulations the way he did to NASA. If somebody would inform him though, that he has joined the long list of presidents who congratulate NASA on stage, and then butcher its budget off camera. Seems that words and congratulations don’t cost much…

  4. Aerandir90 says

    Can we has more monies now?

    • Member
      Aqua4U says

      Mustard seeds and sea shells would work better, eh? We, humanity, are on the brink of an extraordinary transition. One where we are no longer chained to the mundane extrapolations of nationalistic economies. Imagine every inhabitant on Earth, well fed and freed from economic restrictions. We can do that! We can and must change the way we live on this planet, or we will perish. We now have the ways to do that! This is, to create technologies which will allow us to end hunger and disease OR even the idea of economic slavery. I’m not talkng about “The Jetsons” here, or the fabricator on the Enterprise.. or maybe I am?

      Three words: Educate, educate, educate! Some time after a good meal…

  5. Get the checkups done with already! I want to get on with living my dreams of being a planetary explorer vicariously through the rover!!!!!

  6. Guest says

    It’s Bush’s fault! Oh… Wait… this is a good thing.
    Good job. A million and 2 things have to go right for Curiosity to land safely. Good job.
    0bama cronies, try the coo laid with splenda, it’s easier to swallow.

  7. Hun, ok. It’s splendid to congratulate. President Obama should show more appreciation by more funding, & may be heavier pocket for NASA guys. Hey! Let me know when curiosity fish out the defector John Carter from his cave. You dudes are great

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