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National Space Club Honors Mars Curiosity
Artist concept of Mars rover Curiosity This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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The National Space Club will honor NASA's Curiosity/Mars Science Laboratory team with three awards, including the prestigious Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy.

The Goddard Trophy recognizes the team for significant contributions to developing the most capable deep space mission ever and initiating the most ambitious science mission ever conducted on the surface of another planet.

The team will also receive the organization's Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award for its significant role in successfully landing on and exploring the Martian surface.

In addition, Richard Cook, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will receive the Astronautics Engineer Award for his personal engineering leadership as both the Mars Science Laboratory's flight systems manager and project manager.

The awards, offered to recognize significant achievements in space science and enterprise, will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 22. The award recipients are selected by panels of experts from across the aerospace and defense industry.

Mars Science Laboratory successfully deposited the car-size Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface in August 2012. Since then, Curiosity has been beaming back images and data, as part of its quest to investigate whether an area within Mars' Gale Crater has ever offered an environment favorable for life.

The National Space Club is a non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and through a continuing program of educational support. A full list of 2013 award winners is online at: .

More information about the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission is online at: and .

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project is using Curiosity to investigate whether the study area within Gale Crater has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Follow the mission on Facebook at and on Twitter at .

Guy Webster 818-354-6278 818-393-9011/818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.