- Holden to end manufacturing by 2017
- Move aside macaroon, eclair's here!
- ARU: new third tier of competition?
- Sociopathic bosses: what to do?
- Driving holiday: beware micro sleep?
- Drones to help stop shark attack?
- Knockout: deadly game of the streets
- The rise and rise of Human Nature
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What we're talking about
- Joe on Holden to end manufacturing by 2017 Well done Australians. Clap, clap, clap. To all those who placed their cross over the LIBERAL box in the past election, be ... more
- James W on Why are Coalition behind in polls? Back flipping is Tony's and Joe's preferred method of movement, these days. A good thing Joe dropped quite a few kgs, he's ... more
- paulo on Tributes flow for Nelson Mandela Never forget here in Australia our treatment of blacks.from the end of the 19th century until the 1960s half caste children ... more
- Cleangirl on Is cheerleading really a sport? Yes, but they should be wearing over-alls, not shaving under their arms and they require tribal tattoos, or so want the ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Why are Coalition behind in polls? I doubt the veracity of this so called 'poll.' It was most probable that it was conducted in 'die-hard' labor party and ... more
- PJ on Why are Coalition behind in polls? One sentence; Labor Left OWN the media.Coalition has been blamed for the Spy scandal, Qantas and Holden. All problems ... more
- Jo on Are Sydney's trains too unreliable? Yes trains are unreliable but from someone who catches a bus 10-12 times a week or more buses are worse and something needs ... more
- peter on Why are Coalition behind in polls? I don't care if they are behind in the polls at least we don't have to listen ugly voice of Gillard I think it is funny how ... more
- James W on Why are Coalition behind in polls? People are probably realising that the 2013 vintage LNP are at least as big a bullsh#*ters as any other Governing party that ... more
- annette on Why are Coalition behind in polls? the fact that the liberals want to kill off our car industry and kill off our national airline , both should be bailed out. ... more
- rolland on Why are Coalition behind in polls? sick of all the lies from this govt the secrecy with hiding the boats, the attacks on our national broadcaster, christopher ... more
- ahmed on Mandela: lessons we can all learn Robert the normal racist answer.Just because you think the racist white only policy was fine does not mean that all whites ... more
- Felicia on Why are Coalition behind in polls? Political analysis with Dicko. That'll do me. more
- Stew on Expect intense bushfires more often The professor has zero cred. Just look at his record....Glad he is off the taxpayers teat. History will judge him ... more
- peter on Expect intense bushfires more often gee you don't think the land clearing laws had anything to do with the scrub build up and the red tape you have to go ... more
- mick on Home shot at 3 times in 18 months? You are a racist Ahmed, stupid claim. more
- Keith A Tudor on Tributes flow for Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela - a thoroughly great and an outstandingly honest and capable man indeed. Except for John Howard and I ... more
- Jonathon L Benson on Aussie students are falling behind? I would also like to see their left wing Union abolished and replaced by a Management Board comprising Parents and a few ... more
- Robert on Mandela: lessons we can all learn @ahmed. The White Australia policy was fine. Our people didn't build this country with multiculturalism in mind. They built ... more
- Jenny Biddle on Qantas: should Alan Joyce resign? I agree that Alan Joyce and the Board of Qantas should go, It has been a downhill spiral since Joyce took charge. Virgin ... 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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