WASHINGTON, July 4 -- President Clinton praised the successful landing of the Pathfinder probe on the surface of Mars as 'another exciting milestone in our nation's long heritage of progress, discovery and exploration.' Clinton called the Pathfinder the first in a series of such missions to Mars over the next decade that 'will help us better understand our own world and perhaps provide further clues to the origins of our solar system.'
The president said in a written statement: 'Our return to Mars today marks the beginning of a new era in the nation's space exploration program.' He said the Pathfinder mission 'also underscores our new way of doing business in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We were able to accomplish this mission in one third the time and a fraction of the cost of the first Viking mission to Mars.' Clinton said the success of the Mars Pathfinder team, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 'is a testament to the ingenuity and 'can do' attitude of the American people.' ---
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