- Earth missed catastrophe by a week
- Asylum seekers heading to mainland
- Women still face work discrimination
- Do we all have psychic connections?
- Home lost to real estate fraudsters
- A week of horror over flight MH17
- Time for serious debate on euthanasia
- Bus crash kills one injures dozens
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What we're talking about
- SHOT DOWN... on MH17: Putin behind the attack? @Craig you purposely omitted Russian armed and Russian trained killers did this...what is your agenda here? more
- Gary on Abbott copping Senate body blows If the PPL for everyone is such a bad thing, waste of effort and doesn't achieve anything in regards to workplace ... more
- Samuel J James on MH17: the long journey home @Kimber - well said indeed. And Vladimar Putin, the KGB thug and temporary President of Russia has given as much help to the ... more
- Samuel J on MH17: Putin behind the attack? It can be assumed that Putin, the KGB thug is imitating one of his equal coward and former President of the Soviet Union, ... more
- Samuel J on A week of horror over flight MH17 Putin, the KGB thug is convicted in absentia - Please God. more
- stevo on Time for serious debate on euthanasia Legalise Euthanasia for those with 6 months to live if doctors and family want.My dad asked to be given and injection as he ... more
- Cleangirl on Bus crash kills one injures dozens Get bicycles OUT of bus lanes for a start. more
- Jonathon L Benson on UN unanimous vote on MH17 The sickening pictures of the filthy train leaving Ukraine with the bodies of many of these multi-national souls on board, ... more
- Samuel J on Medicinal cannabis for terminally ill The do-gooders will probably get their way with this and it will be sadly regected. We have no leadership here in nsw so let ... more
- Samuel J on MH17: the long journey home @Kimber - well said. The victims even after death did not receive any dignity at all from the Russian and Ukraine ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Why do we need childcare subsidies @Greg O - you are absolutely correct. It is this 'gimmie, gimmie' nonsense and nanny State mentality that is thoroughly ... more
- Kimber on MH17: the long journey home A heartfelt thank you to the Netherlands in appreciation for finally giving some dignity to the victims of flight MH17. more
- Craig on MH17: Putin behind the attack? If America has proof why have they not shown it? The Ukraine air traffic control tapes have been confiscated by the State ... more
- Greta on New Times for Weekend Shows Fantastic to hear Tim coming on earlier - love his show, has interesting segments, would love to hear more of the gardening ... more
- Craig on MH17: Putin behind the attack? @Shot down, You would also believe pigs fly.There is a lot more to this, have you seen Russia's reply yesterday? Radar of ... more
- Angela Coombes on Is Senator Jacqui Lambie for real? I don't feel sorry for her at all. Apart from her big mouth which shoots off without thinking first this galloot is ... more
- Keith A Tudor on MH17: Putin behind the attack? I firmly believe the utterly expensive anti-aircraft missile fired at Malaysian Airlines Passenger Jet MH17 and which ... more
- Samuel J on Sydney suffering too many councils @Angry Ratepayer - I agree. Councils' charter needs to be redrawn and be in simple terms to cut out this continuous ... more
- G. Parker on Jacqui Lambie 'an everyday person' This woman is a disgrace... she isn't talking to the ladies at the local RSL club, but AUSTRALIA! How can someone with this ... more
- Sheila Freeman on Is Senator Jacqui Lambie for real? Now where is Tania and the rest of the Labour party who are always ready to criticise the Libs - totally inappropriate ... 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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