August 13th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

Mars rover mission's 'Mohawk Guy' inspires Obama

"Mohawk Guy," a Mars rover flight director, isn't just a social media sensation - he made an impression on President Barack Obama, too.

"I, in the past, thought about getting a mohawk myself, but my team keeps on discouraging me," Obama told scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a phone call Monday broadcast on NASA TV.

"And now that he's received marriage proposals and thousands of new Twitter followers, I think that I'm going to go back to my team and see if it makes sense," he said to the sound of laughter from dozens of NASA employees.

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Filed under: In Space • Mars
August 13th, 2012
04:06 PM ET

What we've done on Mars, and what's next

The much-celebrated Mars rover Curiosity is headed for Mount Sharp, where it will help scientists explore the question of life on Mars as it climbs up and up.

Meanwhile, however, NASA's budget for planetary exploration is slated to go down, down, down.

Scientists are basking in the success of Curiosity's stunning landing last week, proving that a complicated system involving a parachute and a sky crane can safely deliver a 2,000-pound vehicle to Mars. The $2.6 billion Curiosity will spend years roaming the planet, snapping photos and gathering scientific data.

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Filed under: Mars

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