[NATL] The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

NATL

Parade and Ceremonial Swearing-in Held January 21, 2013

Curiosity Replica Goes to Washington for President Obama's Inaugural Parade

Curiosity is busy blasting rocks on Mars, so a model of the rover rolled with JPL scientists during President Obama's inaugural parade

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Monday, Jan 21, 2013  |  Updated 1:05 PM PDT
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Curiosity Rover Lands on Mars

NASA/Paul E. Alers

A replica of the Curiosity rover is transported on its way to Monday's inaugural parade float staging area, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

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The Southern California team of scientists that guided Curiosity to Mars last summer accompanied a replica of the rover during Monday's inauguration parade in Washington D.C.

The life-size model -- referred to as Ms. Curiosity -- was scheduled to roll along the parade route alongside Jet Propulsion Laboratory project manager Richard Cook, flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, mission manager Jennifer Trosper and deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada. Program executive Dave Lavery and program scientist Michael Meyer, both of NASA headquarters, will march with the team.

The rovers are considered ships of exploration, so all are referred to in the feminine.

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Curiosity to Drill for Signs of Habitability on Mars

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is preparing for the first time to drill into the Martian rock to collect a sample for extensive testing. The goal is to get a sense of the "habitability of this environment," according to Mars project scientist and Caltech professor John Grotziner. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Jan. 15, 2013.
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NASA has two floats in the inauguration parade. A model of rover Orion, a capsule designed to transport astronauts deep into space, will be part of the event.

Current and former astronauts also were invited to march in the parade.

Curiosity -- currently blasting rocks at exploring the Martian surface -- is part of an effort to determine whether environmental conditions on Mars could have been favorable to microbes. The journey to the drilling spot should take about two weeks.

The SUV-sized rover landed on Mars Aug. 6.

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