President Obama called members of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover team at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, August 13 to congratulate them on the "incredibly impressive" mission.
"We could not be more excited," Obama said, telling the team that "it's really mind boggling what you've been able to accomplish."
The president said Curiosity is inspiring children across the country.
"You know, 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," Obama said. He also said that the quest for knowledge represented by missions like Curiosity is "really what makes us best as a species, this curiosity that we have and this yearning to discover and know more."
The president congratulated some of the leaders of the effort, including Charles Elachi, the head of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Adam Steltzner, who helped to design the sky crane that lowered the 1-ton rover to the Martian surface.
Above, Obama talks to the Curiosity team while on board Air Force One in flight.