Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, left, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) director Charles Elachi present an overview of the status and plans for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at JPL in Pasadena, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars Sunday night. In keeping with a decades-old tradition, peanuts will be passed around the mission control room at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for good luck. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
This artist's rendering released by NASA/JPL-Caltech on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, shows how NASA's Curiosity rover will communicate with Earth during landing. As the rover descends to the surface of Mars, it will send out two different types of data: basic radio-frequency tones that go directly to Earth (pink dots) and more complex UHF radio data (blue circles) that require relaying by orbiters. NASA's Odyssey orbiter will pick up the UHF signal and relay it immediately back to Earth, while NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will record the UHF data and play it back to Earth at a later time. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech )
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says NASA's successful mission to put a robotic rover on Mars is an "unprecedented feat of technology."
In a statement issued Monday shortly after the rover Curiosity landed, Obama said "Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history."
He says the feat, which gives the space agency a much-needed boost, proves that even the longest odds are no match for American ingenuity and determination.
The president says the mission, which cost taxpayers $2.5 billion, shows that American preeminence "depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world."
Obama also congratulated the NASA workers "who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality."
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