- Facing the unknowns in Middle East
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- When do you tell kids bad news?
- Climate: are we serious enough?
- Ray Martin on ex-PM Julia Gillard
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- Career checkups for over 50's
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What we're talking about
- Vince on New terror laws to prohibit torture Torture sounds rather humane compared to what these bastards are dishing out overseas. more
- I propose new Middle East laws on Not in the name of religion 50 years of relentless vicious abuse is enough. I will not stand idly by and allow that abuse to destroy the next generation ... more
- Robert on Not in the name of religion Not about religion? Yeah right. You keep telling yourself that Tim. Its about Islam mate, take the blinkers off. more
- Join the Q Society on Not in the name of religion Tim, this is pure IslamQuran 8:12ShakirWhen your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who ... more
- Davo on Not in the name of religion Nailed it Tim. more
- adam on Should we ban local ISIS flag sales? Justin, the extract below is from Christian News Minute (CNM) I hope it gives you pause for thought.The ISIS flag consists ... more
- The Devils Advocate on Too apathetic to make a change? Neil really wants to say the number plate is an antiemetic racial slur. He is prevented from saying that because he has ... more
- RAKESH ADUK on Too apathetic to make a change? Garry Linnell talks a lot of sense! Whenever I go overseas and see the beautiful Aussie flag, it immediately takes me back ... more
- mike deegan on Pauline's advice to Jacqui Lambie if the press give Lambie a fair go she may one of the better senators in the 40 years more
- scott on Father's gift to save his son Thanks for these inspiring stories! Not everyone ends up being healthy enough or a good enough match to be able to be a ... more
- Bikinis not Burkas on ISIS flag auctioned at Sydney mosque Try carrying a radar detector in NSW and see what happens, that lowers their revenue base but carrying a death flag doesn't, ... more
- Tejas on Ban Fred Nile's 'Burqa Ban' BS? Of course every sane person should oppose it. He tried in 2010 and failed, he will fail again. This is what has engulfed the ... more
- Nobody can help those who dont help themselves on Lifting the terror security risk Cook and Columbus gave beads and trinkets in exchange for land and control. But you are much smarter than the poor ... more
- Iman on 3D printing: the future unlimited? Interesting, to get more benefits from 3D printing. more
- Keith A Tudor on PM again overseas: trip #11 @Tejas posting here.Well boo, hoo,hoo to you. Our PM was elected as a leader to undertake high level executive leadership ... more
- Samuel J on ISIS is 'evil and must be destroyed' @Gretta Frankie - absolutely agree. It was utterly disgusting the videos of these barbaric ISIS MONGRELS slitting throats of ... more
- Barry G on ISIS flag auctioned at Sydney mosque They better not wave that flag in my town ,it wont be nice. more
- Angela Coombes on ISIS flag auctioned at Sydney mosque @Ross - great comment. And Madame Milne of the equally useless greens party thinks we can resolve all of this ISIS barbaric ... more
- Coasty on "Zero tolerance" on ISIS flag auction Can anyone please explain to me the reason why Islamic leaders are so silent, so apathetic, so unwilling to stand up in the ... more
- Ben on How to beat the Opal Card system I do not understand why you are trying to encourage even MORE people to use public transport. Trains and busses have been ... 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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