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AP California News

Oct 24, 8:08 PM EDT

Caltech's new president hits Mars button

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The new president of the California Institute of Technology has reached out to leave his mark on Mars.

Thomas Rosenbaum was honored Friday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which Caltech operates.

The Pasadena Star-News (http://bit.ly/1tl2Bpc ) says during the ceremony, a robot presented Rosenbaum with a tablet device that displayed a red button.

Rosenbaum said: "This is so cool" and after a countdown he pushed the button, which sent three days of reconnaissance orders to the Curiosity rover on Mars.

Rosenbaum later was formally inaugurated at Caltech.

He's the ninth president of the school, which is world-renowned for its science and technology curriculum. More than 30 alumni and faculty have won Nobel Prizes.

Caltech began his duties on July 1. He formerly was provost of the University of Chicago.

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