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Mars rover Curiosity's shadow in Gale Crater  (Source: NASA Twitter)
The $2.5 billion project was made in hopes of discovering that the Red Planet once harbored materials needed for life

NASA celebrated a major victory early Monday morning as its Mars rover Curiosity made a successful landing on the Red Planet. 
 
NASA rover Curiosity is a one-ton, nuclear-powered, six-wheeled, Mini Cooper-sized machine that was originally called the Mars Science Laboratory -- because that's exactly what it is. It was made to explore Martian territory for a two-year period in hopes of discovering that the planet once harbored materials needed for life. The project cost $2.5 billion.
 
Curiosity launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011. It has made its way through space for eight months before touching down on Mars. It covered about 352 million miles during that eight-month period.
 
This morning's landing was not an easy one. Many doubted that NASA could pull off such a stunt because the actual maneuver consisted of a giant parachute and a rocket pack lowering the huge laboratory onto a specific area, and errors were not allowed if NASA engineers wanted Curiosity to stay intact. Also, about 70 percent of missions to Mars have ended in failure, so landing the largest vehicle on the planet seemed impossible.
 
"It's like us launching something from Kennedy Space Center and having it land in the Rose Bowl, on the 50-yard-line, on a frisbee," said Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator. 
 
The landing was the most sophisticated and largest of its kind. Over a period of seven minutes, which NASA referred to as "seven minutes of terror," a series of maneuvers took place to ensure that Curiosity landed safely. Seventy-nine pyrotechnic detonations were required for the release of exterior ballast weights, deploying the parachute, removal from the heat shield, etc. If any of these were to fail, the mission would've failed. 
 
However, after entering Martian atmosphere at a speed of over 13,000 MPH, then hitting Martian soil, Earth received radio signals for confirmation of its landing after a bit of a delay. It landed at 1:32 a.m. EDT in the exact area that it was supposed to reach -- the Gale Crater.
 
At that point, NASA engineers celebrated and high-fived over the successful landing. 
 
"There are many out in the community that say NASA has lost its way, that we don't know how to explore, that we've lost our moxie," said John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "I want you to look around tonight. All those folks with the blue shirts, and think about what we've achieved. I think it's fair to say that NASA knows how to explore. We've been exploring, and we're on Mars." 
 
The project may have cost $900 million over budget, but it turned out to be a great milestone for American space travel. NASA definitely needed this boost after retiring its space shuttle fleet last year, which consisted of the Discovery, Endeavour, and Atlantis spacecrafts. American astronauts were then left to depend on Russia to reach the International Space Station (ISS), but private rocket company SpaceX stepped in to save the day shortly thereafter. SpaceX, which is owned by Elon Musk, successfully launched its unmanned Dragon capsule to the ISS in May. 
 
Curiosity will now undergo a series of tests before searching for signs of life (or the ingredients for life) on the Red Planet for two years. It will use instruments like a large robot arm, a weather station, a laser that can vaporize rocks at seven meters, a percussive drill and 4.8kg of plutonium-238. 

Sources: NASA, USA Today, CNN





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Great job!
By Ammohunt on 8/6/2012 1:45:08 PM , Rating: 4
I am glad they chose Nuclear vs Solar however i am kind bored with the same region of Mars they need to send a nuclear rover to the poles making sure everyone uses meters this time.




RE: Great job!
By FITCamaro on 8/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Great job!
By Azethoth on 8/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Great job!
By geddarkstorm on 8/6/2012 4:49:26 PM , Rating: 5
I think he was referring to the rover being "nuclear" powered.


RE: Great job!
By Bad-Karma on 8/6/2012 9:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
For those of you not old enough to remember, the Metric Conversion Act was signed back in 1975 under Gerald Ford. When Carter came in he tried to push up the timeline.

Either way, despite the law, the US public just totally ignored the whole thing and it pretty much withered and died on the vine.


RE: Great job!
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yes america, were Number 1 and 3/64ths not no wimpy decimal points.


RE: Great job!
By Bad-Karma on 8/7/2012 4:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but what really is maddening is when I was stationed over at RAF Mildenhal, the locals would always give us grief about our system while constantly expounding the virtues of the metric one. But in the next breath the damn hypocrites would state how much so and so weighed in "stone"! But I do believe it was just a good across the pond ribbing and in good fun.

Also, I seldom heard them order a beer in liters, it was usually in pints. But I found that most Brits understood both systems rather fluently and could easily do the conversions in their head. Just as many of us Americans do as well.

Conversely when I was Aviano Ab, Italy if you made an absent minded mistake of asking for something in standard units they had no a clue as to what you were asking. Most common was when we would need to procure Jet fuel from somewhere we happened to stop (outside of a US base). We always on-load fuel measured in "pounds" since that is a direct relation as to our fuel consumption over time. Many times if we'd forgot to do the conversion during the order, and you'd just be left waiting, as though the Italians considered it an insult.


RE: Great job!
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 8:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
What a coincidence, I spent a month at Moldyhall working on H53's, good times. The military is so much more fun without war. :) My base went from tours to Korea, England, and Germany to tours to the middle east. Any travel agent will tell you that's not a good trend.


RE: Great job!
By Manch on 8/7/2012 6:52:56 AM , Rating: 1
Can you imagine what would have happened if we went metric?

Would have confused all those people claiming there .03125 indan!


RE: Great job!
By Dr of crap on 8/7/2012 8:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
I do remember we had a big push in grade school to learn the system. As a kid it all seemed very easy since it was all 10 based.

Yet you know us, we can't get away from the stupid system we have now!

AND WHY do they convert the olympics into American units for the watchers?? I can easily tell if 50 meters is farther than 45 meters. I do not need to know it was 164 feet 9 and 3/4 inches! Yes I know the conversion isn't correct. I'm just using those numbers to state how stupid it is to do the conversion!


RE: Great job!
By Quadrillity on 8/7/2012 1:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet you know us, we can't get away from the stupid system we have now!


Because there are pros and cons to both systems.

http://blog.elevenseconds.com/metric-vs-imperial-s...

http://ask.slashdot.org/story/11/04/21/0143225/why...


RE: Great job!
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 8:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Major con is trying export anything to the rest of the world. I'm pretty sure they don't want to deal with anything in the SAE system. Hell I was a nissan mechanic for a while so bought mostly metric tools, which is a major deterrent to me buying an american car. Even more irritating is when you are working on a car with both metric and SAE, that can really piss you off.


RE: Great job!
By Quadrillity on 8/8/2012 10:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
The rest of the world (most, not all) use metric, yes that's true. But that doesn't mean we don't have very valid uses for keeping imperial measurements. Think about carpentry. The metric system SUCKS for that.

I also hate it when manufacturers mix the two standards in cars though lol.


RE: Great job!
By mindless1 on 8/10/2012 12:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
The metric system works great for carpentry, if only the trade used metric instead... how about that 2x4 that isn't 2" x 4", that makes a lot of sense right?


RE: Great job!
By HoosierEngineer5 on 8/7/2012 4:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the stupid system we now use is mostly binary, and that's the system the stupid computer you are now sitting in front of uses, don't you?

Sometimes the choices were for practical reasons. 360 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, 45, 60, 72, 90, 120, 180. If pizzas were measured in degrees, these are how many people you could have over without anybody being cheated!


RE: Great job!
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:24:53 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, I was wondering how somebody was going to put a negative spin on this.


Check out this amazing photo
By Tony Swash on 8/6/2012 1:22:20 PM , Rating: 5
Check out this amazing photo of it actually landing

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/the-most-incredi...




RE: Check out this amazing photo
By FaaR on 8/6/2012 2:18:37 PM , Rating: 2
A fantastic, mind-boggling photo of an incredible, monumental achievement. I'm so in awe of the engineers at NASA and JPL. Absolutely one of the finest scientific efforts America has ever achieved (and there's been a bunch for sure.)

This task is no less impressive because it was all carried out without human intervention. All of the guidance and navigation towards the target site was computer controlled, what an extraordinary piece of programming and automation that must have been. Amazing... Just amazing.

Now let's hope all of the gizmos Curiosity is carrying survived the trip!


RE: Check out this amazing photo
By geddarkstorm on 8/6/2012 3:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
It is seriously mind boggling. A skycrane? Retrorocket decent? Biggest parachute of its type? So many things could have gone wrong with all these new ideas, and instead it all worked out flawlessly. It is just astounding, and so heartwarming to know we've got such engineering wizards and geniuses still guiding our space program. Can't wait to see what this baby can do!


RE: Check out this amazing photo
By Manch on 8/7/2012 7:05:58 AM , Rating: 2
I watched the 7 mins of terror video several times and my favorite part was when the EDL engineer says: "When people look at it, uhh it looks crazy...That's a very natural thing..." Then he says "It is the result of reasoned engineering, thought....but it still looks crazy."

I woke up early to watch the landing live. I hadnt been this excited about a NASA mission in a long time.

Im glad they still have people like him working there. I wish they had video of the skycrane portion. I can't wait to see how they use the EDL tech for more earth bound applications, and what they will discover over there!


Wha?
By hduser on 8/6/2012 1:21:34 PM , Rating: 3
However, after hitting Martian soil at a speed of over 13,000 MPH, Earth received radio signals for confirmation of its landing after a bit of a delay.

Not sure what or anything could've survived a 13,000 MPH impact.

But, hats off to JPL/NASA! Congrats.




RE: Wha?
By Shadowself on 8/6/2012 1:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
It did not impact at 13,000 MPH (even in Mars' reduced atmosphere that's almost Mach 24!). It entered Mars' atmosphere at about 13,000 MPH. (At that speed the parachute slowing it down would have been ripped off so it slowed considerably [to about 900 MPH] before the parachute was deployed.)

The actual touch down was supposedly at about 1.7 MPH.


RE: Wha?
By retrospooty on 8/6/2012 2:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, the 13k thing was a mis-quote. If it did survive such and impact, it would have created quite a hole that it couldnt climb out of.


RE: Wha?
By JKflipflop98 on 8/6/2012 2:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like it makes more sense now. Changed to:
"However, after entering Martian atmosphere at a speed of over 13,000 MPH, then hitting Martian soil. . ."


American Exceptionalism
By kfonda on 8/6/2012 6:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Put me down as a true believer in American exceptionalism.




RE: American Exceptionalism
By tayb on 8/6/2012 8:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Gold Medal
By spe1491 on 8/6/2012 4:18:15 PM , Rating: 3
Anyone else feel like they should be awarded an honorary gold medal for sticking the landing? Just seems appropriate with the Olympics taking place right now. Or maybe I've just been watching to much gymnastics....




Landing
By Florinator on 8/6/2012 1:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
I stayed up until past midnight last night, just so I can follow the mission, awesome thing!




Just further proof...
By Lord 666 on 8/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just further proof...
By Kefner on 8/6/2012 1:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Trying to read and understand that was painful!!!!!


RE: Just further proof...
By BZDTemp on 8/6/2012 1:39:05 PM , Rating: 5
You're an idiot.


RE: Just further proof...
By Motoman on 8/6/2012 1:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
...first of all, that is indeed a pretty difficult-to-understand little blurb there.

But basically it seems you're saying that the fact that the NASA scientists celebrated the successful landing of the rover is proof that the whole enterprise is fake...?

Right. Because if you worked for several years on one project with one exceedingly difficult goal, at a cost to taxpayers of billions of dollars, you'd just shrug off whatever happened at the moment of truth - whether it be success or failure.

Although there's clearly plenty of failure here - your's. In that you've utterly failed at any attempt you may have made at any point in your life to avoid being a nutjob.


RE: Just further proof...
By Florinator on 8/6/2012 1:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I guess doing a remote landing 154,000,000 miles away is "not that different" from landing 239,000 miles away.

You should get out of the cave more often my friend. It's a wonderful world out there, plenty of things to learn...


RE: Just further proof...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/6/2012 2:03:47 PM , Rating: 3
Uhh you know when we landed on the Moon we had different engineers, right? So please forgive this new bunch for being excited.

Did you like, I don't know, even try and engage your brain before posting this?

The Moon has far less mass than Mars, and virtually no atmosphere to content with. So yeah, it's WAY easier landing people on it than a rover on Mars. And I don't even know why I'm bothering telling you this anyway, because you must be some sort of retard.


RE: Just further proof...
By Lord 666 on 8/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just further proof...
By Florinator on 8/6/2012 3:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
Oh come on, give me a break. Have you ever watched Mythbusters? Particularly the one where they go to the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and shoot a laser at the reflector panels that the lunar astronauts left up there?

Time to get your head out of your ass and take look around...


RE: Just further proof...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/6/2012 3:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh come on, give me a break. Have you ever watched Mythbusters? Particularly the one where they go to the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and shoot a laser at the reflector panels that the lunar astronauts left up there?


LOL you can't reason with conspiracy theorists. He'll just say they secretly launched a mission years after to drop the reflector panels on the surface or some such nonsense.


RE: Just further proof...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/6/2012 3:46:21 PM , Rating: 3
We DID land a rover on Mars years ago. I guess, like the Moon landing, that was faked too right?

quote:
It is obvious I am not the only one that thinks the moon landing was BS


There's also people who don't think the Holocaust happened either, or that aliens travel billions of light years to abduct humans, or that Elvis is still alive.

Congratulations, you're still an idiot. Just one who takes pride in being in a club of idiots.

quote:
especially after this Mars rover landing.


I can only attempt to guess what kind of prism you need to view the world through, to attempt to say this is evidence that the Moon landing was faked.

I guess if I went and climbed Mount. Everest tomorrow, I shouldn't get excited or feel any sense of accomplishment because others did it first, long time ago. So it's no big deal.

Anyway I think we've given your moronic view of the world and space travel enough attention. I'm glad you've shared this opinion with us though, because now we know to not take you seriously on ANY topic from now on.


RE: Just further proof...
By Lord 666 on 8/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just further proof...
By geddarkstorm on 8/6/2012 5:03:51 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, where do we start?

First, the moon has incredibly low gravity, so retro-rocket landings are practical; which is what we did to land on the moon. Mars is too high in gravity, we can't carry that much propellent needed for a retro only landing in any economical way.

Curiosity was also moving a lot faster as it headed towards Mars, than we do when headed towards the moon. The extra speed is needed to get to Mars in a timely manner before its orbit takes it out of fuel range. All that incredible additional velocity has to be dealt with, also making retrorocket landings alone impractical for Curiosity.

Mars has an atmosphere so you risk burning up at the speeds we are talking about, the moon does not (hence you can orbit closely to the moon's surface, making the descent down a slow cakewalk, which is how we landed; we didn't fly straight at the moon but descended from a stable orbit, unlike Curiosity). However, Mars' atmosphere is so thin, that although you'll burn up without a heatshield, a parachute cannot slow down a 1 ton rover like Curiosity enough to keep it from generating Mars' newest crater. If Curiosity weighed a lot less, that might be possible to land with just a parachute, but even for some previous landers (phoenix), it wasn't.

The some previous landers used airbags to bounce safely on the surface. Curiosity is too heavy for this, and no airbag would have kept it from being destroyed.

Hence, a combination of landing systems had to be developed to land such an incredibly heavy object like Curiosity on a planet with sufficient gravity and atmosphere to utterly obliterate it, but too thin an atmosphere to slow it down enough to land. Parachute than retrorockets would have been possible, except the rover has delicate instruments that the dust kicked up by the rockets could have destroyed (or gotten the rover stuck). That wasn't an issue for the moon landers at all, as the people were safely on the inside, and no exposed science equipment was vulnerable to dust; unlike Curiosity.

It's a technological marvel that all four stages of landing (headshield, parachute, retrorockets, skycrane) worked. The engineers have every right to be so elated.

This is a lot harder than landing people on the moon (for the landing portion, anyways).


RE: Just further proof...
By Lord 666 on 8/6/2012 5:08:58 PM , Rating: 1
Thank you for answering the honest questions I had... and without throwing insults.


RE: Just further proof...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/6/2012 8:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
There were no "questions" in your opening rant. Just a declaration of utter stupidity. And if you did have questions, maybe Google the basics before being a dumbass and opening your trap?


RE: Just further proof...
By Lord 666 on 8/6/2012 9:21:23 PM , Rating: 1
Questions usually begin with "why" as in "Why if actual people are that much more difficult and especially since we have already had equipment on Mars." I just accidentally left off the question mark.

Report back when you do climb Mt. Everest or something else positive.


RE: Just further proof...
By delphinus100 on 8/6/2012 8:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mars is too high in gravity...


Combined with not really enough atmosphere. As Apollo Lunar missions, the Stardust comet return probe, several Venus landers, the Galileo Jupiter entry probe and the Huygens lander on Titan have shown, you can do a lot with aerobraking, if there's enough 'aero' do do serious 'braking.'

Were it closer to Earth atmospheric density, you could have greater deceleration and a lower terminal velocity for the same heat shield diameter, that would've made a supersonic parachute deployment less necessary, for example. You also might not have even needed the skycrane, just land everything on airbags (not the 'bouncy' kind, the sort already tested for Boeing's CST-100 capsule) and roll off...

...but it's not that dense, and we have to work with the solar system (and launcher payload and diameter constraints) we're given.


RE: Just further proof...
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:43:02 AM , Rating: 2
uhm, it weight one ton on earth. On Mars its substantially lighter.


RE: Just further proof...
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
we really need an edit button


RE: Just further proof...
By sorry dog on 8/7/2012 2:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
maybe lighter but mass is the same...so impact speed and energy to bleed off won't be that much different from an earth landing, without the atmosphere to bleed that energy to.

...and I agree, it would be nearly as impressive as Nasa's feat if we were to get an edit button.


RE: Just further proof...
By TSS on 8/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Just further proof...
By TSS on 8/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Just further proof...
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:36:15 AM , Rating: 1
Its all about the money. NASA engineers are limited on what they can do by their budget and of course the size of the engineering teams are also limited by budget. I'm sure NASA with enough resources could set up a full blown base on the moon.


RE: Just further proof...
By Gurthang on 8/7/2012 1:06:24 PM , Rating: 1
You are confusing scale here.
The Apollo program was a essentially an open check for NASA to land a man on the moon which you might have noticed is significantly closer than Mars is. And was done in little baby steps proving each part of the program was going to work as planned. And even so many people were hurt or killed in the process. This rover was so far away and there were so many variables that once started EDL was a do or die situation.

That said Appolo was a pioneering effort which advanced our space program consideribly. The point you seem to be missing is that we stopped pushing things on the manned exploration front after Apollo essentially just coasting on the space shuttle for 30 years. Things have gotten cheaper and only slightly better for manned space flight since we landed on the moon. Because we as a country having done the whole moon thing seem to be happy maintaing a RV in orbit and unwilling to fund bigger things.

A better comparison than Apollo is the Viking program. Which at the time cost 1 billion. Or about 3.9 billion in today's dollars. The viking landers could only sit like a turd where they landed, and contained only few intruments. The rovers are amazing not just in what they can do but how much science they pack into gram of vehicle.

To me the biggest failure of the MSL program was that they did not make several at once, wait for the first one to land and tweak the others slightly based on what they learn from the first one.

And finally these people are celbrating because they have spent years of their lives planng, building, designing, and operating this rover and it just completed with flying colors the the most dangerous portion of it's mission.

I don't know about you but I'd be pretty happy too.

So if you are going to doubt the moon landing why not just doubt all of NASA I mean since you can't build a spaceship and go to the moon yourself or even believe that it could be done, apparently nobody else can either. Enjoy that.. I'll continue to cheer on NASA.


RE: Just further proof...
By FaaR on 8/6/2012 2:10:05 PM , Rating: 3
What a ridiculous post! There's so much wrong with everything, from your painfully flawed grasp of facts, to your inability to apply logical thinking and everything inbetween. You could scarcely have gotten anything more wrong had you actually tried.

This mission was a lot more difficult to achieve compared to those in the past due to the size of the rover the United States landed. Previous rovers have landed on the surface using shock-absorbing airbags, but those weighed less than 200kg. The Curiosity is a 1-tonne plus vehicle.

And the landing process is no different than the Apollo landing either, you're correct there Sir. No different, since Neill and Buzz landed on the moon first by aerobreaking through the moon's atmosphere whilst guidance thrusters kept them on course, then fired a supersonic parachute to reduce speed further, then released from the chute and free-fell for a second before switching to landing thrusters to bring speed down further and then gently being winched down the last ten-fifteen meters or so to the lunar surface.

Yes, that was exactly how Apollo 11 landed. Trust me, I know these things just as well as you do!


RE: Just further proof...
By hduser on 8/6/2012 2:18:17 PM , Rating: 3
You forgot the part where on Mars, everything is done remotely and autonomously. It'd already landed before we knew about it. Apollo moon landing was done in real time.


RE: Just further proof...
By delphinus100 on 8/6/2012 9:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well, about 1.5 seconds behind events.

And that might not have worked, left to itself. As Neil noted later, they were coming to 'a football field sized crater full of boulders,' for which he had to extend the approach and land beyond, getting very close to their fuel limits...

The Curiosity landing would have been somewhat less tense, if a pilot could have been present (or if FTL direct control were possible...)


RE: Just further proof...
By Fritzr on 8/8/2012 1:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
Now don't give him too much credit ... He had a good 10 seconds of flight time left in the tanks when he touched down at the alternate site he chose just before he would have smashed the lander on the planned site.

The Mars lander did not have the luxury of a last second change in plans since it would have been a pile of junk long before mission control discovered a mistake in landing sites.

The sky crane gently setting the rover down on whatever was there made sure that it would survive almost any type of terrain.

Good advance planning meant that many complex systems failed to succumb to Murphy and there appears to be nothing stopping the rover from driving away once all the post landing checklists are completed and operators have had a chance to look at the pictures of the landing site returned by rover.


RE: Just further proof...
By Florinator on 8/6/12, Rating: 0
Really Worth $2.5B
By WalksTheWalk on 8/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Silverel on 8/6/2012 4:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
While I love war as much, or more, than the next person I can't help but think there's a more practical way to spend $3.4T dollars. I hope I'm proven wrong and this war finds incredible things to offset those dollars, but it seems like an incredible waste of resources, along with the other Middle East wars.

FTFY


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By WalksTheWalk on 8/6/2012 4:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
Except I've never indicated I want war. War should be the last thing the US engages in since there is no winning; only varying degrees of loss.

Troll away Silverel...


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Samus on 8/6/2012 5:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
I get what both of you are saying...but money ain't nothing but a thing. We need to push technology like this because in 50 years, who knows, there might be a global disaster and we'll depend on moments like this that gave us an out.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Jeremy87 on 8/6/2012 6:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Except I've never indicated I want war.

No, but NASA's cost is so incredibly unbelievably tiny in comparison to other things (like war).
It's mindblowing how much those $2.5B can give us, and I doubt anyone but NASA can do so much with so little, and this is the place where you would want to start shaving off costs?


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Samus on 8/7/2012 2:37:46 AM , Rating: 2
Totally. I think people take a lot of stuff developed through the space program for granted:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/1752963/...

and over 6,300 other patents...ALL FAIR USE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By WalksTheWalk on 8/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Florinator on 8/6/2012 4:35:26 PM , Rating: 4
Didn't the war in Iraq cost like $3 billion a month at its height? I'd rather send my tax money to Mars than blow shit up in the desert. Or kill innocent people at wedding parties in Afganistan or wherever...

NASA is something I can be proud of, the wars... not so much.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By StevoLincolnite on 8/6/2012 5:21:03 PM , Rating: 3
And yet, it's because of the space program that has given the USA it's technological edge in the past.

If the Americans are so worried about the cost of NASA, why not pull the troops you have stationed all around the world which are costing American lives and Billions of dollars?

You still have troops in over 130 countries across the planet with over 600 bases, imagine how much money you would save if you pulled them back and increased your defense at home which would also save American lives as well as improve defense?

NASA in comparison isn't that costly, heck you are working with Australia to communicate with the rover so it's not like you are taking all the burden upon yourselves in that regard.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Bad-Karma on 8/6/2012 9:40:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You still have troops in over 130 countries across the planet with over 600 bases, imagine how much money you would save if you pulled them back and increased your defense at home which would also save American lives as well as improve defense?


We're there because left to your own devices your countries can't seem to stay out of initiating world wide conflicts, that we then have to go in and clean up at a far more considerable cost to lives and money.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By StevoLincolnite on 8/7/2012 6:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
And yet, my country has never been invaded or even initiated a war, we always followed and assisted the Yanks or the British Empire, yet you still seem to see a need to station troops on our soil for various reasons.

If you want a look at warmongering nations... I can list a few, the USA would be near the top wouldn't it?


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Bad-Karma on 8/7/2012 4:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
yet you still seem to see a need to station troops on our soil for various reasons.


Strange, but there are several other countries that have considerable large forces in our country. Usually its the Five-Eyes group, but I've worked with Germans, Brits, Kiwis, Israelis, Canadians, European, Japan, S. Korean, and a whole host of middle eastern, African, Asian and South American countries. Well over a 50 countries come up to train with our Red Flag exercises. Many of there units come here for training cycles but several have more permanent locals.

There are many reciprocity agreements in place that if we have a base in another country then they have the right to establish one in ours. However, most can not afford such a luxury so we accommodate them at our own bases.

quote:
If you want a look at warmongering nations... I can list a few, the USA would be near the top wouldn't it?


The US and our Allies wind up putting out lots of smaller fires so that we all don't have to deal with them when they get out of control and turn into much bigger conflagrations. So "warmongering" is determined by how you look at it through your political mindset.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Paj on 8/7/2012 7:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, its so you can influence foreign policy to align with US interests, like the war on drugs and fossil fuels.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2012 10:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why everyone instantly goes into military spending. All of our money isn't going into the military, not even close.

But I guess entitlement spending or healthcare (things the Constitution did not mandate, unlike the military) is more popular than our military for whatever reason, so they become the scapegoat for all our woes.

http://www.usfederalbudget.us/budget_pie_gs.php


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Jeffk464 on 8/7/2012 12:53:19 AM , Rating: 1
You know this is a totally positive achievement. Why do you guys insist on turning such a positive event into cheesy political arguments?


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By jeffkro on 8/7/2012 2:16:17 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, somebody is just marking down everything I post.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Jeremy87 on 8/6/2012 6:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
So if NASA is a waste of money, then by extension all their inventions have been a waste of money.
For example your computer or talking to your cell phone, scratch-resistant eyeglasses, your smoke detector, the foam in your helmet, or other things that help keep roads from getting slippery or prolong the life of the Statue of Liberty.
Do a quick Google search for what they have invented and how they are used today in people's everyday lives.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By shmmy on 8/6/2012 7:53:05 PM , Rating: 3
No... He said that the one project may be a was a waste of money. Not the past 50 years of NASA as whole.

Do a quick google search on how to read :P


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By kyp275 on 8/7/2012 2:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing that is a waste of money around here is the money spent on public education for WalksTheWalk.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By jeffkro on 8/7/2012 2:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
He sounds home schooled


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By WalksTheWalk on 8/7/2012 9:12:38 AM , Rating: 2
So one person got what I was saying. I was not saying NASA was a waste in total, but that this project was a waste of resources. Please show me how this project is justified spending that much money. What is the return for it? This entire project is for political theater (US and NASA PR) and has little real world value.

Having said that I will say that NASA does waste a large amount of resources. They have little accountability and they basically set their own direction with a little input from the Federal Government. I know they are a sacred cow, funding wise, to tech people but that's no different than ethanol being a sacred cow for the agriculture crowd.

This is the problem; too many people not willing to limit the government sponsored programs THEY are interested in.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2012 10:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
For every dollar we spent on the Apollo program, 13 went back into the US economy from all the things we learned and other advances. To say this is a "waste" of money is idiotic. And that's coming from someone who's accused of wanting ZERO Government spending.

quote:
Having said that I will say that NASA does waste a large amount of resources. They have little accountability and they basically set their own direction with a little input from the Federal Government.


This is patently false, so whatever. You're entitled to an opinion, but you aren't entitled to lying. NASA is not even close to being outside the direction of Congress and the Government.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By WalksTheWalk on 8/7/2012 11:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
Just look at who the members of NASA's Planning Group are. They receive their funding from Congress along with overall directives from both Congress and the Executive branch, but their oversight is sorely lacking.

quote:
And that's coming from someone who's accused of wanting ZERO Government spending.


This is just hyperbole x 1,000,000%.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Paj on 8/7/2012 10:45:54 AM , Rating: 2
The amount of useful data learned from the challenge of simply landing a rover the size of a Cooper mini on Mars, in itself, is huge. That's before the data from the mission itself comes flooding in.

The skycrane is a revolutionary concept which has never been attempted before. It is likely to have future applications when exploring other bodies in the solar system.

Additionally, much of the landing was automated due to the delay in communicating with Earth. The coding and programming of this entry sequence was executed perfectly - this should have a good deal of future application when designing AI routines for future landers or probes.

Then theres the rover itself, which has yet to demonstrate its capabilities in terms of mobility, power, longevity, scientific instrumentation... the list goes on.

Seems like a small price to pay for such a mission.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Ringold on 8/9/2012 4:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The skycrane is a revolutionary concept which has never been attempted before. It is likely to have future applications when exploring other bodies in the solar system.


Thank you! IMHO, the entire amount spent was validate even if Curiosity was swallowed up by a freak Martian tornado tomorrow, just to gain the experience of pulling off that kind of landing.

All the science that shall now flow forth, that just makes it that much sweeter.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By Jeremy87 on 8/7/2012 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
What's the difference between this mission and all the others, except for *when* those missions happened (this being so recent that we don't yet know how all of its inventions will randomly turn up in everyday use)?
With your reasoning, every NASA mission was initially a waste of time, because it always takes time before someone turns a NASA idea into something useful for the public.


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/7/2012 10:46:55 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
While I love science as much, or more, than the next person I can't help but think there's a more practical way to spend $2.5B dollars. I hope I'm proven wrong and this rover finds incredible things to offset those dollars, but it seems like an incredible waste of resources, along with the other Mars rovers.


I don't understand why people rated you down. I absolutely agree. It's like throwing money away. The only data I could care about is if there is life on Mars. All other data they are sending back is pretty much useless and will more than likely be the exact same data we already have. $2.5bil is a lot of money that could've went into education, boosting medical technology, infrastructure or creating jobs. Not to mention plenty of other things... But you really can't argue with people who don't mind throwing money away just because the word "science" is tacked on it...


RE: Really Worth $2.5B
By m51 on 8/8/2012 12:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
You may care very little for the science, as do many people. There are many though who find it fascinating and inspirational to do these great feats of science and engineering. To learn about our universe. To go on great adventures like putting men on the moon, or sending probes to the planets and out of the solar system.

That interest and fascination that is generated is worth a great deal although it's difficult to quantify. Many people like myself where inspired to go into the science and engineering fields because of things like the space program. Only about 2% of all engineers are involved in new product designs, and yet those 2% create the products that drive the whole high tech industry. The whole high tech economy depends on the intellect, skill, and creativity of a relatively small group of people. To be competitive in a world market, or be a leader you need the very best and most capable people you can get. If you cannot out design and out engineer the world competition you cannot compete and your economy starts to fade.

Anything you can do to encourage and increase those talent bases is amplified a thousand fold in the economy.

At any rate for those interested here are some links to pictures and info for the Curiosity rover.

Main site
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

Entry Descent and landing
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/ind...

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/ind...

Pictures
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/


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