NASA has transmitted back to Earth the sound of the first ever human voice from another planet.
The US space agency radioed the recording of its chief to the Curiosity Rover on Mars, which in turn beamed the audio back.
“Hello, this is Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator, speaking to you via the broadcasting capabilities of the Curiosity Rover, which is now on the surface of Mars,” the voice said.
“Since the beginning of time, human kind’s curiosity has led us to constantly seek new life, new possibilities just beyond the horizon.”
The achievement comes days after the death of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon.
“As Curiosity continues her mission we hope that the words of the administrator will be an inspiration to someone who is alive today, who will become the first to stand upon the surface of the planet Mars. Like the great Neil Armstrong, they will be able to speak aloud in first person at that point of the next giant leap in human exploration,” said Dave Lavery of the Mars Science Laboratory.
NASA has also shown off the first high-resolution, colour images of the Martian landscape taken by Curiosity.
Scientists are given a new view of a mountain where earlier pictures appeared to show clays and hydrated minerals in the rocks. It will be a year before the rover physically reaches the mountain, ten kilometres away.