The U.S. space agency NASA has achieved another first with its Mars Curiosity rover: the first recorded human voice that traveled from Earth to another planet and back.
The recorded voice of NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden greeted members of the Curiosity team late Monday.
"This is Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator, speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity rover, which is now on the surface of Mars.''
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Bolden went on to note the difficulty of sending a probe to the surface of Mars, and congratulated NASA employees and the agency's partners on the successful landing of the rover earlier this month. He said Curiosity is what drives humans to explore.
The voice playback was released along with new photographs of the varied Martian landscape. The telephoto images beamed back to Earth show a scene of eroded knobs and gulches on a mountainside, with geological layering clearly exposed.
Dave Lavery, a NASA program executive, said it is hoped the Curiosity rover’s mission will inspire someone alive today to become the first person to stand on Mars.
Curiosity landed on Mars in early August to begin a two-year mission studying the planet’s surface. It will use 10 science instruments to assess whether a selected study area ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.