The Washington Times - August 13, 2012, 01:18PM

President Obama called the NASA team that landed a rover on Mars to congratulate them on the successful mission, as well as allowing their employees to change with the times.

Singling out Bobak Ferdowsi, the engineer known as the “Mohawk Guy” for his edgy haircuts that include yellow stars and red and black stripes, Mr. Obama said “it sounds like NASA has come a long way from the white shirt, black dark-rimmed glasses and the pocket protectors.”

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“You guys are a little cooler than you used to be,” he told members of the Mars team based in Pasadena, Calif.

Mr. Obama praised the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team and their achievement in landing the rover Curiosity on the Red Planet and sending back spectacular color photos of the Martian surface.

And, he said he wants to be the first to know if NASA officials discover any Martians.

“Somebody asked me the other day whether you’ve already found Martians,” he said. “I told them we have to give you a little bit of time. It’s really mind-boggling what you’ve been able to accomplish. And being able to get that whole landing sequence to work the way you did is a testimony to your team.”

Later during the call, Mr. Obama again said he wants to know ASAP if the team finds any form of Martian life.

“If, in fact, you do make contact with Martians, please let me know right away,” he said to laughter. “I’ve got a lot of other things on my plate, but I suspect that that will go to the top of the list. Even if they’re just microbes, it will be pretty exciting.”