Congressman David Dreier (R-San Dimas), who represents Sierra Madre and other San Gabriel Valley cities, issued the following statement Monday morning applauding the La Cañada Flintridge-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the successful landing of the NASA rover Curiosity on Mars' surface.
"I am tremendously proud of JPL, its talented and dedicated staff, and their incredible achievement in today's landing of the Curiosity," Dreier said. "NASA's continued exploration of Mars, and beyond, affords so many important benefits to our society. Their technology has provided us with a wide range of scientific innovations – everything from advanced medical treatments to new energy solutions. Their research centers provide well-paying, highly-skilled jobs to local communities, including my own district. And perhaps most important, their accomplishments inspire the hearts, minds and imaginations of the youth of America, our next generation of inventors, scientists and explorers."
Added Dreier, "I look forward with great anticipation to hearing about the Mars Science Laboratory's discoveries and learning about the opportunities that may unfold from them."
The Curiosity, which is part of NASA's JPL-built Mars Science Laboratory mission, is the largest rover ever sent to Mars and carries the most advanced scientific equipment to be used on the planet's surface. This mission is to determine whether Mars ever was, or might still be capable of supporting microbial life. The successful deployment of the precision landing technology that equips the Curiosity is a huge step in the future of the surface science and exploration of Mars.
The rover Curiosity has a long-lived power-supply that will allow it to operate for at least one full Mars year (687 Earth days) and travel up to 660 feet per day. Curiosity is equipped with advanced instruments that will allow it to gather, process and analyze samples of Martian rocks and soil. Additionally, the Mars Descent Imager will record color, high-definition video of the landing region before touching down on the Mars surface, in order to provide geological context to the scientific investigations conducted on the ground.