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What we're talking about
- Keith A Tudor on Crisis over Palmer China comments Both Palmer and his side-kick Jaquie Lambie are utterly rank incompetent damned fools and totally unfit to be in our ... more
- PRINCE JOE HOKEY on Clive Palmer drops another clanger All honest people would have to agree with Clive Palmer's rather frank, but blunt opinion and know where Clive is coming ... more
- Anthony on Clive Palmer drops another clanger Way to go Clive. I moved to Australia 8 years ago and was shocked to see Australia owns nothing! You've sold your country to ... more
- molly on Clive Palmer drops another clanger watch out Clive the anti-free speech people will get you. If china want Australia they will have to fight Islam for it. ... more
- Ben on Racism still rife in parts of Sydney? Why does this even make the news?Get over it. I have been rejected for age, looks, prejudice and who knows what other ... more
- Angela Coombes on Racism still rife in parts of Sydney? The coffee shop owner has a right to hire an employee whom he or she feels will fit in with the business. It is no different ... more
- Angela Coombes on Liberals run scared in by elections? I don't think the clown Baird realises he has a State election on in about March 2015. Is he running his candidates for ... more
- Angela Coombes on By-election: Liberals avoid thumping How utterly foolhardy of this Baird joker not nominating candidates. He could have come up with two outstanding liberal ... more
- SLOPPY JOE-CANBERRA on By-election: Liberals avoid thumping What a shocking state of affairs with so many bad, self-serving politicians about...allegedly there to manage the nation? ... more
- Cleangirl on Racism still rife in parts of Sydney? and how many government departments seem to be made up predominantly with a single foreign race ? more
- paulo on Racism still rife in parts of Sydney? This cafe owner will be shamed into learning a lesson that racism is not accepted here! more
- Bruce on Racism still rife in parts of Sydney? Leave the coffee shop owner alone its hard enough making a living in the hospitality industry without have to deal with a ... more
- Angela Coombes on Liberals run scared in by elections? It is gutless on the part of the liberal party. Why not field new candidates and market their integrity - assuming they have ... more
- barry on Hockey backlash on poor comments Well we now see the true colours of adopted name JOE HOCKEY,has no idea of the working class struggles,indicated by his ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Who will ever trust an MP again? Maybe we should put more bible bashers in Parliament to help root out the corrupt thugs in all the failed political parties ... more
- Samuel J on Spike in ice use across Sydney Just how do the ingredients for these drugs get out to this poor stupid forlorn drug affected knuckleheads! I am inclined to ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Hockey backlash on poor comments Like the fool Wayne Swan, this Hockey joker is well past his 'Use-By" date indeed! I suggest put someone in his job who ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Who will ever trust an MP again? All it will mean is more hung parliaments full of even more shonks, dunces, fools and clowns collectively bleeding us ... more
- Craig on Hockey backlash on poor comments These jokers born with silver spoons in their mouth, multi millionaires have NO idea.Poor people do drive most of us live ... more
- Cleangirl on Help, can you solve our traffic woes? Get pack cyclists off main roads during peak times. Surely they can do their hobby ride another time of day. and ask 4WD`s ... 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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