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What we're talking about
- Jester4212 on Late doctors should give discounts? Agreed, very good point. Even appointments I've had first thing in the morning have been met with delay as the doctor has ... more
- Cleangirl on Buy local: vote with your wallet New car buyers cringed at buying an Australian car, so I`m glad they`ll at least buy Australian fruit from Coca-Cola Amital. more
- David Hoffman on Is terrorism behind missing plane? I am looking at this event through the lens of being a lifelong student of human behaviour. I know enough to believe that, ... more
- Gary on Too late to stop climate change now? I simply let the facts talk to me and as Garry Linnell stated it was warmer 27 years ago. So where is the evidence of ... more
- helen on Scrap the My School website? Hello Angela, have just read Peter 'Fitz' remarks re your morning show. Agree! you are a delight to tune into each ... more
- David T. on Do we still need a Women's Day? In my experience, every day is Women's Day. more
- David T. on Pay kids to eat their vegetables? How "bloody" stupid. Government, stay out of our lives. more
- David T. on Schapelle: Journos deported from Bali Break another country's laws and you can expect to be treated according to their law. I have no sympathy for thede ... more
- Rod M on Schapelle: Journos deported from Bali To me it seems very clear why journos are being booted out of Bali. Their courts expect people to abide by the spirit and ... more
- Mary on Pay kids to eat their vegetables? What a waste of the tax payers money, why not give it to hospitals... they need it more. more
- Kimber on Scrap the My School website? Well said @Coasty!!! :) more
- Kimber on Pay kids to eat their vegetables? OMG, pay people to lose weight, pay people to quit smoking, now this.From the time kids can eat solid food fruit and ... more
- Jester4212 on Pay kids to eat their vegetables? Why why why must the govenrment become involved?! Even for parents to pay their children to do this is unbelieveable. They ... more
- Coasty on Scrap the My School website? Ridiculous. I'm now finding the teaching industry has gotten hysterical & political. The My Schools website was one of the ... more
- Jester4212 on A pizza stuffed with cheeseburgers? I can't believe what I'm watching. Disgusting. more
- William Coleman on Drugs & alcohol affecting our schools The classroom today is yesterdays psychiatric ward. more
- William Coleman on Chinese buying up Sydney housing? So the big money comes to oz and home prices soar .Meanwhile we buy products from Asian countries because it is so cheap due ... more
- Jester4212 on Should we pay people to lose weight? Cold hard cash is a complete cop-out, just like the baby bonus. I'm all for wanting to help these people out. But have ... more
- Greg O on Kevin will stop second Crimean war? Of course Kevin will stop the war and I have no doubt he will also help the Russians tackle global warming by putting pink ... more
- Coasty on Sydney's outbreak of ablutophobia No-one minds backpackers. They're great. I was one & I want my kids to do it. The problem here, is one that's all too ... more
Curiosity: is there life on Mars?
With a mixture of nerves and confidence, NASA has landed its largest ever robotic rover on Mars, where it will search for signs that life may once have existed on the planet.
The 2.4 billion dollar Mars Science Laboratory, featuring a car-sized rover called Curiosity, landed on Mars at 3.31pm Sydney time.
Scientists do not expect Curiosity to find living creatures but they hope to use it to analyse soil and rocks for signs that the building blocks of life are present and may have supported life in the past.
2UE's Paul Murray with Astronomer Fred Watson
NASA celebrated the precision landing of a rover on Mars and marvelled over the mission's flurry of photographs - grainy, black-and-white images of Martian gravel, a mountain at sunset and, most exciting of all, the spacecraft's white-knuckle plunge through the red planet's atmosphere.
Curiosity, a roving laboratory the size of a compact car, landed right on target late on Sunday night after an eight-month, 566-million kilometre journey. It parked its six wheels about 6 1/2 kilometres from its ultimate science destination - Mount Sharp rising from the floor of Gale Crater near the equator.
Extraordinary efforts were needed for the landing because the rover weighs one ton, and the thin Martian atmosphere offers little friction to slow a spacecraft down. Curiosity had to go from 20,920km/h to zero in seven minutes, unfurling a parachute, then firing rockets to brake. In a Hollywood-style finish, cables delicately lowered it to the ground at 3.2km/h.
At the end of what NASA called "seven minutes of terror", the vehicle settled into place almost perfectly flat in the crater it was aiming for.
The nuclear-powered Curiosity will dig into the Martian surface to analyse what's there and hunt for some of the molecular building blocks of life, including carbon.
It won't start moving for a couple of weeks, because all the systems on the $US2.5 billion ($A2.37 billion) rover have to be checked out. Colour photos and panoramas will start coming in the next few days.
But first NASA had to use tiny cameras designed to spot hazards in front of Curiosity's wheels. So early images of gravel and shadows abounded. The pictures were fuzzy, but scientists were delighted.
The photos show "a new Mars we have never seen before", Watkins said. "So every one of those pictures is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen."
In one of the photos from the close-to-the-ground hazard cameras, if you squinted and looked the right way, you could see "a silhouette of Mount Sharp in the setting sun", said an excited John Grotzinger, chief mission scientist from the California Institute of Technology.
A high-resolution camera on the orbiting seven-year-old Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, flying 340km directly above the plummeting Curiosity, snapped a photo of the rover dangling from its parachute about a minute from touchdown. The parachute's design can be made out in the photo.
Curiosity is the heaviest piece of machinery NASA has landed on Mars, and the success gave the space agency confidence that it can unload equipment that astronauts may need in a future manned trip to the red planet.
The landing technique was hatched in 1999 in the wake of devastating back-to-back Mars spacecraft losses. Back then, engineers had no clue how to land super-heavy spacecraft. They brainstormed different possibilities, consulting Apollo-era engineers and pilots of heavy-lift helicopters. (AAP)
Have a look at Sunset on Mars:
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