PASADENA ( — NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project is being awarded with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s top honor – the trophy for current achievement.

The project, which is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, is responsible for the creation and operation of the Curiosity rover.

For the past seven months, Curiosity has been probing Mars’ gale crater to determine whether it has ever offered an environment capable of sustaining microbial life.

The trophies for current and lifetime achievement are the museum’s most prestigious honors.

NASA will receive the award at an awards gala in Washington, D.C., next month.

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