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.

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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.

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

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