Obama calls Mars Rover team and asks about life on the Red Planet
This image, released by NASA on August 9th, shows part of Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.
August 13th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Obama calls Mars Rover team and asks about life on the Red Planet

WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - President Obama called the members of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover team on Monday to congratulate them on the rover’s recent landing on Mars but he also asked for a heads up if they find any signs of life.

“If in fact, you do make contact with Martians please let me know right away,” the president joked. “Because 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.”

Mr. Obama spoke to seven team members in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California where the rover’s mission control is located. Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars last week and will spend the next two years investigating whether or not there is, or has been, life on the planet.

The president called their accomplishments ‘incredibly impressive’ and ‘mind-boggling’.

“What you've accomplished embodies the American spirit and your passion and your commitment is making a difference and your hard work is now paying dividends,” Obama said. “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.”

He also said the group’s mission will continue to inspire children across the country.

“They're telling their moms and dads they want to be part of a Mars mission, maybe even the first person to walk on Mars and that kind of inspiration is the byproduct of work of the sort that you guys have done,” he added.

The president made the phone call while aboard Air Force One en route to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, where he will begin his three-day campaign bus tour through the neighboring state of Iowa.

Topics: NASA • President Obama

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soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. HunterPSU

    This never would have happened if it needed to be approved by B.O. This mars success is George Bush's fault...

    August 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

      Arrrrh! America is in decline!! Vote GOP now!!!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • Howard

        Now Obama can destroy the Martian Economy too !!!

        August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Billy

        Voting GOP is the reason why America is declining!!!!! I will never vote GOP again.....

        August 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • GetReal

        Judging from your alias, your comment is sarcasm, right?

        August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • craig

      There are two problems with your observation.

      First, nowhere in this report does the President appear to take any responsibility for this mission. He congratulated the people who did the work, and shared a joke with them.

      Second, your observation that the President would not have approved this mission is based on nothing...not a single fact, not a single word, nothing. The President has never been asked if he would have approved the mission, nor was the mission ever presented to him as a "do you want to go ahead with this" question. In short, your conjecture is nothing more than "your conjecture."

      August 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
      • Howard

        HOPE AND CHANGE = Replacing Obama with Romney & Ryan ... followed by replacing the far left, biased, partisan main stream media with fair, balanced and objective journalists !!!

        August 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        Gee, Howard, I guess the FREE PRESS isn't good enough for you. Seriously, your head must still be stuck in the 'circular file'.

        August 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      The program was started under Bush, continued by Obama and six years later and many, many,many years to come, we will be gathering the information that will propel the people of this planet toward a possible home if our world becomes too populated, polluted, or uninhabitible. The possibilities to experiment with re-creating a world that has become a desert into a productive basis for life is also a way to find out if we can repair our own planet.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Howard

      A self-important college freshman walking along the beach took it upon himself to explain to a middle aged white man why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation. "You grew up in a different world, actually an almost primitive one" the student said loud enough for others to hear. "The young people of today grew up with computers, cell phones, the internet .. and much more. After a brief silence, the middle aged white man responded as follows.
      'You're right son. We didn't have those things when we were young ... so we invented them. Now, you arrogant little sh*t what are you doing for the next generation?

      August 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        I did notice that you inserted middle-aged "WHITE " man in your little story. Think you should get a wedgie for that.

        August 14, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. jon

    Obama will do anything to make him look good. Where was the phone call when the mission took off, after all that was the most crutial part of the mission. Oh perhaps, he was playing golf and it was not an election year – so there was not really a reason to call the NASA team.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • GetReal

      I think our POTUS can phone whomever he wants, whenever he likes.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
      • Kool-Aid Police

        Of course he can, and no matter what you'll still adore him.

        August 14, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  3. Deep Space

    Earth Is The True Planet Of War, Not Mars (Curiosity Rover)

    August 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • George

      Is it just me or does this guy look like Rick MorAnus?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  4. jon

    HunterPSU ... now come on, Obama is once again taking responsibility for something. After all, not everything can be Bush's fault. THis is not the only time Obama has taken responsibilty ... after all he took responsibility for the drone attacks (shhhh don't tell anyone that the drones were made before Obama took office). he has taken responsibility for killing Ben Laden (shhh don't tell anyone that it was the intelligence efforts under Bush that got us the information and lead on where Ben Laden was) He has taken credit for the repairs after 9-11 ... the list can go on and on ... So all you conservatives ... Obama is takign credit for things that happened during his adminstration. Stop your complaining that Obama blames Bush for everything.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tim

      Just one more thing. It is Bush's fault why Obama got elected. It's water under a bridge that wasn't built.

      August 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jake

      I find it interesting that you are so confident of all this, but can't even spell "Bin Laden"

      August 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  5. JP

    He really wants to know so he can grant them amnesty for more votes..

    August 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Steveo

      I was going to say something about Mars having a lower unemployment rate than we do, but your's works just as well.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Cynthia L

        Yeah, you are so original.

        August 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Steveo

        I get that ALL the time! Can't shake it.

        August 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
      • Cynthia L


        August 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
      • GetReal

        I got the impression that you spend most of your time 'shaking it'.

        August 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • Steveo

        @get real, you earlier said to me:


        "Steveo- I've been reading your posts for a long time and you never miss a chance to diss our President. You rarely debate policies and will bash anyone who disagrees with you".

        August 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm
        So how are your concerns and impressions about me "shaking it" debating politics? Not bashing anyone are you? Could it be you have one standard for me and another for you?

        August 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  6. patNY

    The fact that people posting here are making an anti-Obama politcal rant out of this just goes to show that there are some warped brainless people who should not be allowed near a computer, but instead, should be institutionalized!

    August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  7. w l jones

    Thank you Mr. President for your interest if find life on Mars. Bless.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  8. demwit

    Obama is still expecting to see a live martian.., too many drugs in college.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  9. Kool-Aid Police

    He wants to know if there's any life on mars that he can tax.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  10. Lizzie

    If a republican would have said, if you see a Martian tell me, they liberals and democrats would have labeled him the dumbest person, but it s smart statement when Pres.Obama makes it.
    CNN, I President Obama approved you to be my spokesman.

    August 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  11. Cynthia L

    Lizzie, do you consider an 'earthworm' an earthling?....I do. Do you consider earth-nurtured algae 'earthlings'...I do. There are legends that are thousands of years old that there were 'Martians' of earth-like hominoids. We are finding out the mysteries of another planet that may be the next home of 'earthlings'. I don't care if a Republican said that, or a Democratic, or the man-in the-moon. People have wondered the same thing since the beginning of our time as a developed species. I find it amazing we have a way to answer some questions mankind has been asking for a long, long time.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  12. italmn

    Why do people who detest the POTUS come here ? Do they NOT have anything better to do to vent disrespect and spew vile comunication? What sick people they really are. And for what ? Mr. Romney & Mr. Ryans destruction and dismanteling of the American way of life..............

    August 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Steveo

      SOME destest him just like those who detested Bush. Why are you so hurt? Some detest his POLICIES just like some detested Bush's policies! That is how it works! You realize the same vemon and disrepect was poured out on Bush too? Does not make it right either way but let me ask you a question. Was the hate and disrespect shown Bush right or wrong? Actually, the hate and disrepect that is STIL SHOWN BUSH. Is it right or wrong? Or is it only hate towards Bush ok? Which is it? AND do you know ANYTHING about the Ryan budget and medicare/medicare other than what MSNBC is feeding you? Do you?

      August 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • GetReal

        Steveo- I've been reading your posts for a long time and you never miss a chance to diss our President. You rarely debate policies and will bash anyone who disagrees with you.
        Bush was dishonest, especially to the Americans who believed in him.
        President Obama is a great President, who is making the right decisions to get our country back onto its feet. He never stops working for average Americans. There is no comparison.
        But, don't act so innocent, as if both sides are to blame for our divided nation. The GOTP has made every effort to pit blacks against whites and latinos, rich against poor, religion against government, etc, etc. It is a constant effort to sabotage this administration for the benefit of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
        No one likes Romney because he doesn't even have the guts to show himself or reveal his agenda. He thinks that he can win on the anti-Obama sentiments, created by the GOTP and lobbyists.

        August 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
      • Steveo

        Get Real,

        You have not been reading long enough. I differ with POLICY! I don't bash the president! I discuss policy! You stated many things in yiur post, that if your were honest, applies to the left! Yo say he is doing t ebest for America. According to whom? The LEFT! I disagree based on POLICY!

        That rich verse poor thing? Sorry class warfare is the hallmark of the LEFT! BOTH parties played a role to get us here and to say otherwise is highly dishonest!

        August 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  13. Really?

    Yeah, maybe he can find a way to get them registered to vote before November.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      Guess what, genius, we are already registered,.....and you??

      August 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  14. Out Of Touch with reality

    Stark Choice, Are You Better Off Now than You Were Four Years Ago, Simple Answer NO! obama and biden are both hell bent on destroying America so you make the choice, The Death Of The American Dream or a Better Way Of Life Without the Socialist obama.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • GetReal

      Are we still bleeding 800,000 jobs per month? No. Would you want to resume the policies that put us there? I hope not.
      I find it difficult to understand people like you, who are so ungrateful for what President Obama has done to save our country from inevitable demise.
      If the recovery is not fast enough for you, blame yourself for voting the Tea Party obstructionists into Congress. Thanks to people like you, we now have a Congress that serves Grover Norquist, instead of the country.
      Thanks for nothing.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  15. Jean

    It flies in the face of any reality driven reality that we would ever live on Mars – this is a watse of time and money. For this we gave up the space shuttle and now pay Russia for the honor of flying in thier rockets. We'd be able to live on the space station and the moon sooner and cheaper – this Mars nonsense is a pig-in-a-poke.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      FOX NEWS reporting days before the Mars Rover Landing....
      NASA awards funding to THREE AMERICAN COMPANIES for NEW PRIVATE SPACESHIPS to fill the gap in U.S. human space-flight capabilites ..."announcing another critical step toward launching our astronauts from U.S. soil on Space Systems built by American Companies that will keep us on track to end the outsourcing of human space-flight and create high-paying jobs in Florida and elsewhere in the country."
      NASA in the meantime is focusing on the development of a new heavy-lift rocket for exploration missions with the goal of exploring a near-earth asteroid by 2025 and on to Mars by the 2030s.

      The importance of near-earth asteriod exploration is for rare metals the earth is in competition with other nations for as there are only a few places that they are found. Rare metals are used in high-tech industries. To answer why we retired our current fleet of space-shuttles is because they were used far longer than they were designed for and NASA feared for the safety of the program and of the astronauts flying them.
      Why go to Mars? It's going to happen. Russia and China and in the news recently, India all have their sites on that planet. If we don't continue with this program and they still do and succeed wouldn't you be wondering why we weren't there? It takes years to develope the necessary knowledge for such plans that are huge job engines for the country. Employing generations now and to come. GO AMERICA!!

      August 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Kool-Aid Police

      It's certainly many years and a lot of research away. The moon would be a perfect place to try things first.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:23 am |
      • Cynthia L

        News FLASH – We were already there – it doesn't have water, never did. It can't support life. There are bigger fish to fry on Mars possibly and that is why we are going. Although, there are probably still on-going projects concerning the moon.

        August 14, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  16. Judy

    same lousy bunch or repo idiots trying to make this artical into a personal attack on the president. Will they never grow up. Listening to some scientist speaking last week on the radio and they said President Obama has done more for the scientific community than any president in years. But we still need to do more . Half the repos still don't believe in global warming and none think man has had anything to do with it. But most believe in creationism and even though they don't want to believe we have common ancestory with apes just look at the studid post here and you will see that we do.Forward 2012

    August 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Jack

    "Let me know if you find life on Mars". So what, he can take all the credit for backing the mission? If I were NASA, I'd tell him last.

    August 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  18. MaryM

    Give them time Mr President, they will find it

    August 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  19. D1

    thank higher power for are president if he dosent care he sure do acts like it i work for a mormon yes 7.75 an hr its a job thoe i fill like a slave why hog all the cash romney and ryan.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  20. bb

    Lets send Oblunder and his democraps there, they can see for themselves

    August 14, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  21. d1

    Pleanty of concearns when the mealting pot will realey be mealted neaver bashing humans just policies its a difference between wealthy rich and middle class and of course# poor wat happend to the american dream for us who work very hard to keep it real unlike those who sprinkle fairy dust around?

    August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  22. d1

    Rick get your head out off your*#*buddy im born and raised in vegas you 18oo hundread fools need to throw your confeaderate flag in the garbeage money dont rule the world conversation does pal.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  23. d1

    appologize rick thise is for curious george stay with bananas.buddy your conversation IS fruitey.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
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    November 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm |