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- Tony on Greens Grinch against Christmas Another stupid Green moron steps up to the PC plate and tries to force his brand of nonsensical clap trap down everybodys ... more
- Judyth Kelly on Greens Grinch against Christmas Dear Stuart,The alderman is hiding behind his atheist beliefs and inferring the complaints are coming from either the Jewish ... more
- PEACEFUL ISLAM? on Canberra faces similar Ottawa threat? And our weak, obfuscating Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott does not want to ban the burqa, like sensible France? Dear oh ... more
- SMILING CAPTAIN EMAD.. on Canberra faces similar Ottawa threat? Lets get the "sorry" Labor/Greens party to take charge of our national security!! more
- Tejas on Why has Balibo 5 inquiry stopped? Well said Justin. Very passionate. Clearly it seems the government has put pressure on the AFP here. Basically so as to not ... more
- REALISTIC-CANBERRA on Aussie jihadist signs death warrant? What do you really expect now with undisciplined young teenagers behaving like gangsters on our very own lawless streets. ... more
- SMILING CAPTAIN EMAD.. on Why has Balibo 5 inquiry stopped? Hardly surprising is it! What do you really expect, when our fearless untouchables the Australian Federal Police sat there ... more
- Tejas on Equip police with video cameras Actually I am personally not surprised the civil libertarians are supporting it. We all know about police brutality. They ... more
- Cleangirl on Why has Balibo 5 inquiry stopped? Political Correctness does not allow questioning Islamic nations or their practices. more
- James W on Woolies pulls "offensive" singlets I took the advice. I didn't love Woolworths one day and so I left. Went to Aldi. i've been back to Woolies since, the T ... more
- Keith A Tudor on Truck crash at traffic hotspot I wish various authorities and media would stop calling these smashes involving trucks as 'accidents'. In almost every case ... more
- Tony on Aussie Jihadist's threat to PM What a Tool!Lets hope one of the first things the SAS do in Iraq is to make this idiots day! more
- Realistic on The Whisper: Waste at Tafe Surprise surprise, long ago, thirty years back the Liberal NSW Education Minister Terry Metherell rightly said that TAFE was ... more
- ETERNITY... on Tributes flow for Gough Whitlam Well Australia can thank Gough Whitlam and Al Grassby and indeed the Labor party for so called multicultural Sydney. more
- Laura on Truck crash at traffic hotspot Shocking, and thoughts go out to those personally affected; speedy recovery all. But let's have a proper (timely ... more
- Yusuf on Aussie Jihadist's threat to PM Brain washed idiots. Lock them up and leave them there for life. more
- yusuf on Tributes flow for Gough Whitlam A man of real substance. My condolences to his family. more
- Yusuf on The Whisper: where burqa ban began Australia has its own values and freedoms and does not have to follow other countries. There are also examples of other ... more
- TEN FOUR... on Truck crash at traffic hotspot Our shabby roads are dangerously congested with heavy trucks in a big hurry and they take little care, whizzing in and out ... more
- SLOPPY JOE HOKEY-CANBERRA on Malcolm Fraser's tribute to Gough These lavish perpetual prime minister's pensions are a bit of alright! And then a huge budget State Funeral with a ... 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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