NASA Sends First 'Interplanetary Voicemail' to Mars and Curiosity

Curiosity Rover returns first telephoto images, "voicemail" to Earth.

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The base of Mount Sharp on Mars, where enterprising Earthlings can apply to live for no more than $73.

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NASA announced that it has successfully sent and returned a voice message to Mars, the first time mankind has ever returned a voice recording from another planet.

The message, which NASA is calling an "interplanetary voicemail," is just over a minute long and was recorded by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. The message was relayed from Earth to the Curiosity rover on Mars and was played back to the NASA team controlling the rover on Monday.

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"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," Bolden says in the message. "Landing a rover on Mars is not easy. Others have tried, only America has fully succeeded."

Dave Lavery, program executive of the Curiosity mission, said in a statement that the voicemail is "another small step [in] extending human presence beyond Earth."

"We hope these words will be an inspiration to someone alive today who will become the first to stand upon the surface of Mars. And like the great Neil Armstrong, they will speak aloud of that next giant leap in human exploration," he added, referencing the recently deceased Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

NASA also revealed the first telephoto pictures taken by the rover. The photos show the base of Mount Sharp, the 18,000-foot mountain that Curiosity hopes to eventually study.

According to NASA, after just three weeks, Curiosity has already returned more information about Mars' surface than all of NASA's previous rovers combined.

Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at jkoebler@usnews.com