In Alabama, NBC News 12 reports that former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison attended the Girl Scouts' "Women of Distinction" dinner to talk about her time in space.
She addressed the recent "Curiosity" landing saying the space program is very different from what it was when she went into space on the shuttle.
The dinner was Jemison's first public appearance in the Tennessee Valley in 16 years.
She said a lot has changed and with the end of the space program, and now the landing of the "Curiosity" rover, space exploration still grabs our imaginations.
"From Curiosity, to SpaceX, to new contract, to Google X-prize, to asteroid mining: why is that? It's because space is one of those things that lets us stretch ourselves and find our potential," said Jemison.
Jemison is now involved in a defense department project looking for ways to get people to another star system within the next 100 years.
She said we need more work on basic science that might not seem to have any foreseeable payoff.
"All the incredible work we're doing right now that has to do with DNA technology, all of those things, that's based on basic science research that was done in the 1960s and 1970s. So we have to do that kind of fundamental foundational work right now."