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Rover Makes History With Beamed Voice Recording


And now, let's go to a place far, far away, but still in this galaxy - the surface of Mars. The NASA Rover, Curiosity, has been making history since it descended onto the surface of the Red Planet earlier this month.


These are the first mission to Mars to send back pictures of its descent to the planet. And it's the first nuclear-powered Mars rover. Yesterday, at a news conference, the rover again made history with this recording.

CHARLIE BOLDEN: Hello, this is Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity rover, which is now on the surface of Mars.

GREENE: Charlie Bolden's words were first-ever to be broadcast from the surface of another planet. NASA sent a data file of the recording up to the rover and then beamed it back down.

Dave Lavery is program executive of Curiosity.

DAVE LAVERY: Although it's not quite the true first person representation of humanity's contact with the surface of Mars, it is a small step in that regard. It's an opportunity to extend the human presence, virtually and in some small piece, out beyond our own world.

INSKEEP: That small step that Lavery mentioned there echoes the words of astronaut Neil Armstrong who died last weekend. Armstrong's famous words: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, were the first ones broadcast from the surface of a celestial body.

GREENE: This afternoon, the rover will beam back another recording. This one will be from the artist known a Will.i.am. It will be his latest single. He'll premier it at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The song is called "Reach for the Stars."

I got a feeling this is quite a publicity stunt.


BLACK EYED PEAS: (Singing) I got a feeling that tonight is going to be a good night, that tonight...

INSKEEP: Who's got a radio on Mars?


GREENE: That's a good question. Well, wherever you're listening, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.


PEAS: (Singing) ...feeling that tonight is going to be a good night, that tonight, that tonight is going to be a good... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.