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What we're talking about
- Roberto Georgio on Nova Peris sets back race relations? obviously not very impressed with whites, but happy to take there hard earned money. more
- Barry G on Sydney kids calls for Islamic caliphate By By , Thanks Rudd AND Gillard ,,Seeya Australia. more
- Cleangirl on Nova Peris sets back race relations? Claims to be the victim here ??? more
- Tony on Sydney kids calls for Islamic caliphate And as if the police will get anywhere? These people seem to be able to do whatever they want too, whenever they want too, ... more
- NO MONEY NO HONEY on New Gold Opal card for Seniors Beware, the scheming movers & shaker's agenda is to make a $cashless society. more
- Keith A Tudor on Should Nova Peris quit the Senate? @ Realistic-Canberra - well said indeed. It is quite sickening the mess Madame Gillard left us all - including the abject ... more
- Join the Q Society on Sydney turns blind eye to homeless No they don't, when the nameless arrived on leaky boats they were given Government housing, white goods and the never ending ... more
- REALISTIC-CANBERRA on Should Nova Peris quit the Senate? Senator Nova Peris was always going to be just another one of failed prime minister JuLia Gillard's sick jokes. No wonder ... more
- SLOPPY JOE HOKEY-CANBERRA on Sydney turns blind eye to homeless Our grandstanding, uncaring governments, both Labor/Green & Liberal are donating countless $billions of borrowed $$dollars ... more
- Cleangirl on Should Nova Peris quit the Senate? The Token job placer should also stand down, disgraceful. more
- peter on Excise lift: Petrol prices set to rise get more attention on pump price we should be paying after lower crude price drop , why the lag in price drop we pay through ... more
- SLOPPY JOE HOKEY-CANBERRA on Why paying more for petrol stinks! I remember the big con, the panic, scare campaign 40 years ago when we were told we would run out of oil within 5 years and ... more
- Greg O on Excise lift: Petrol prices set to rise Well something has to rise if any Government no matter who it might be is going to pay back the massive debt that the Kevin ... more
- Cleangirl on Why paying more for petrol stinks! why not 40c on Dog food, or a charge for cyclists ? Motoring is a necessity. more
- EMPTY TANK on The Whisper: Woolies Woes I wish greedy Woolies and Coles would be stopped from messing about with petrol $prices? This a very big election issue... more
- REALISTIC-CANBERRA on Sydney auctions held in Mandarin Evidently these days Aussies have got no money to bid with...so much for so called free trade, well done big Joe? more
- Bao Tran on Who let 11yo runaway stay 2 nights? Good question. This day and age you have to be either very brave or very stupid. It shows how society is now. What if it was ... more
- Tanya on Sydney auctions held in Mandarin We wanted to buy an investment property a few years ago. Looked at a lot of different agents, but one of them most ... more
- Joanne L. on Who let 11yo runaway stay 2 nights? After what happened to Daniel Morcombe, I feared the worse, thank God she is alright...there is a very big lesson here for ... more
- Barry G on Sydney auctions held in Mandarin By By Australia , A special thanks to Gough Whitlam for those big reforms , more Labor disasters from back then and many ... 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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