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Obama to NASA: I want to know about Martians right away

In a phone call with the team that brought Curiosity to a successful landing on Mars, President Obama is very clear that Martians, should they exist, would be a top priority.

NASA Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

With the Olympics still in midstride, and with the arrival of the always exciting NFL exhibition games, you might perhaps have missed that a spacecraft landed on Mars a few days ago to express our human curiosity.

President Obama, however, has made it very clear that, should little beings be found out there, they will immediately become his top priority.

Indeed, in a phone call today with the Curiosity team, the President revealed that the first question he is being asked about the mission is whether Martians have already been found.

One can imagine that, even if they had been found, it is unlikely that the President would say: "Oh, sure. They're coming the White House for tea next week."

But, in praising the work of all those who were part of the Curiosity rover project, the President was keen to make them understand that he would not sit idly by, should otherworldly life be found.

"If, in fact, you do make contact with Martians, please let me know right away. I've got a lot of other things on my plate, but I suspect that that would go to the top of the list, even if they're just microbes," he said.

The assembled scientists laughed. But if you look very carefully, one or two lips offered a slightly nervous turn.

Perhaps they, just like Stephen Hawking, are concerned that any aliens might not be too receptive to a machine landing in their peaceful, rugged domain.