Oregon State shares in success of Mars landing

Oregon State shares in success of Mars landing »Play Video
Jeff Barnes

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jeff Barnes spent four years researching the Martian atmosphere to help make Sunday's rover landing possible.

"It feels great, really great to be involved with something for so long," said Barnes, an atmospheric scientist at Oregon State University, "and in a way there's a little bit of sadness maybe about the whole process coming to an end."

Oregon State scientists built one of the computer models that NASA used to design the tricky landing on Mars that delivered the rover Curiosity to the planet's surface.

Barnes hopes the success of this operation brings more attention to NASA funding.

"Now is not the time to stop, now is the time to keep going and do more incredible missions after this," he said.

Barnes said the next few weeks will serve as a learning process for future Mars landings.

"Mars is special and always will be special," he said, "and there remains a very strong possibility that life currently exists on Mars."