This image, while in black and white, was taken by a hazard-avoidance camera on the front end of the Curiosity rover. The rover is pointed at Aeolis Mons, informally known as Mounts Sharp, named for Robert Sharp, a pioneer of robotic Mars exploration. (NASA)
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Barack Obama says last week's landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars was a "mind-boggling" accomplishment.
And he's urging NASA scientists to let him know right away if the craft happens to see any Martians.
Obama telephoned the Curiosity team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday as Air Force One flew him to a campaign stop in Iowa.
The car-sized rover landed eight days ago after a complex series of maneuvers that involved a huge parachute and cables lowering it to the Mars surface. Its mission includes looking for environmental conditions that might have given rise to life.
Obama says even if Curiosity just finds microbes, it'll be "pretty exciting."