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NASA's Curiosity  (Source: nasa.gov)
After launching Saturday, MSL is in good health and ready to continue its long journey to Mars

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft blasted off towards the Red Planet this past weekend, and a recent signal from the MSL indicated that everything was proceeding as planned.
 
On November 26, NASA’s MSL, also known as the Curiosity rover, was sent to Mars via the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. It took off from Space Launch Complex 41 on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
 
NASA rover Curiosity is a $2.5 billion nuclear-powered machine meant for the exploration of Mars in hopes of finding evidence of microscopic life. It is the size of a Mini Cooper, and about four times as heavy as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. Curiosity has 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.
 
After separating from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, officials back on the ground received a signal from the rover that all was well and that Curiosity is on its way to Mars.
 
“Our spacecraft is in excellent health and it’s on its way to Mars,” said Pete Theisinger, MSL Project Manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
 
It will take about eight and a half months for Curiosity to travel 345 million miles to Mars. When it finally arrives in August 2012, it will be lowered onto the Martian surface in a protective aeroshell via a jet pack and tether system. Curiosity will then explore the Gale Crater for at least two years, which is an area that is rich in minerals and may provide clues as to whether Mars had or has life.
 
“Science fiction is now science fact,” said Doug McCuisition, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters. “We’re flying to Mars. We’ll get it on the ground, and see what we find.”
 
Curiosity is NASA’s most sophisticated Mars rover, and the space agency expects the rover to put about 12 miles on its odometer during this venture. It is also the third space mission to launch since the retirement of the NASA space shuttle fleet.
 
“Mars really is the Bermuda Triangle of the solar system,” said Colleen Hartman, assistant associate administrator for science at NASA. “It’s the death planet, and the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has ever landed and driven robotic explorers on the surface of Mars, and now we’re set to do it again.”

Source: NASA



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RE: Religious implications
By DougF on 11/28/2011 2:06:17 PM , Rating: 4
Genesis 2, Verse 1: "And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." Ergo, God created the Universe, all the galaxies, all the stars, all the planets, etc.
...And it wasn't the Christian Church that declared the Earth to be the center of the universe--that one's on the Babylonians and others up to the Greeks, but Ptolemy is normally accredited with the concept. So, changing the viewpoint from Earth-centered didn't and still doesn't affect the Bible. Neither does the Flat Earth, Young Earth, Ye Olde Earthe, Evolution, Quantum Chromium Dynamics, String Theory, Germ Theory, Plate Tectonics, Relativity, the "M" theory or "Brane" theory, the Doppler effect, etc.

Secondly, Galileo Galilei never "proved" anything. He observed and taught based on his observations (and others such as Copernicus). The Church listened to his argument, asked him to prove it, and he failed. He couldn't because the math hadn't been invented yet (see: Isaac Newton). The Church then asked him to not teach it anymore but Galileo decided he knew better and defied the Church. Galileo was then excommunicated for being in defiance of the Church.

At the end of the Roman Empire, there was a power vacuum and the Christian Church stepped in to provide some basic stability to the European area (and let's be honest here: as well as entrench it's position as the dominant religion). Soon, all "power" in Europe stemmed from the Church; political, economic, religious, education, etc. Changes to any accepted notion had to be cleared through the dogma the Church had accepted as "Truth". Changes did happen, but very slowly and under the watchful eye of the Church. Once the European continent revived enough to reassert control independent of the Church, the Church reluctantly had it's power over non-religious areas taken away by various secular entities (again, being honest: through a series of often violent clashes over several hundred years).

None of this detracts in any way from the message in the Bible, which is: God loves us and is always willing to forgive any and all sins, for simply accepting Him as our savior through his son, Jesus Christ. We can argue all day long about the role of MAN in the Church and subsequent control of secular processes on Earth and whether that should be an appropriate thing to do. But the primary message has not changed in over two millenium, nor will it.

And no, Christianity will not fall apart should life be detected elsewhere, or even intelligent aliens. They too, will be offered the same salvation Christians offer everyone on this world; the love of God and his plan of eternal salvation for anyone who follows his path.


RE: Religious implications
By geddarkstorm on 11/28/2011 4:04:00 PM , Rating: 2
Never mind the fact that the angels of the Bible are extraterrestrial (not from Earth) intelligent life forms. Ones that could be said to exist on altogether different plane of existence, but still alien to our world and intelligent. God made them, so why would we assume to be so special as to be the only intelligent life made in this universe?

In short: what you said.


RE: Religious implications
By Belard on 11/28/2011 6:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Genesis 2, Verse 1: "And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." Ergo, God created the Universe, all the galaxies, all the stars, all the planets, etc.


Saying that God created the heavens for the Earth / humans... yet theres proof and common sense that the Universe wasn't created for mankind.

Religion was needed for social structure, to explain the lights in the sky. In which most of them are galaxies. There are more galaxies than there are humans. "God" - in any of our religions, has all the limitations of man for obvious reasons.

When the earth blows up (by its own or we do it) - the Universe will not notice.


RE: Religious implications
By karlostomy on 11/28/2011 7:05:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
None of this detracts in any way from the message in the Bible, which is: God loves us and is always willing to forgive any and all sins, for simply accepting Him as our savior through his son, Jesus Christ.


It is so sad that Christians are able to delude themselves into thinking that this is the message of the bible.

I guess they like to forget the overwhelming passages of the bible that describe their God's insecurity, jealousy, rage, rape, murder, genocide and abhorrent lack of love.

I guess it's best to ignore those bits?


RE: Religious implications
By karlostomy on 11/28/2011 7:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
As a nice example, here's some of what the bible is really about.

http://www.evilbible.com/

It's not pretty... when we consider the truth without the brainwashing.


RE: Religious implications
By Digimonkey on 11/28/2011 7:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oh don't you know, God makes up rules to fit the societies he cares about. Surely not the other way around.


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