The NASA rover Curiosity is set to use its drill for the first time on Mars in a region where water once possibly flowed, scientists say. Boring into a rock would be one of the 1-ton rover’s most difficult tasks since arriving on the Red Planet Aug. 5. “This is something that we waited patiently for and accepted risk in driving to this destination,” said mission scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech. “This has been very exciting.” The target is a complex rock in a terrain on the Red Planet called Yellowknife Bay. The rover’s instruments have detected veins, sandstone and other features that scientists
Comments: It seems that the drill can only go down 5 cm., but that´s enough to get the people at JPL excited. [It´s their first time drilling on Mars].
To calibrate, Grotzinger was the guy who tipped off the press last November to a soil sample analysis that was going to be "earthshaking- one for the history books". It had all the impact of a cotton ball dropped on the bathroom floor.
This mission is technologically impressive and "exciting". Kudos to JPL for great work. It is bittersweet, however, knowing that it is probably one of the last of its kind - a fading reminder of what America once was and might have been. Now the dwindling funds will finance Obamaphones and other more earthly "missions". If and when honest history books are ever written, the slow death of NASA will be seen as a milestone in America´s decline and fall.
Montevideo - Uruguay´s Senate is expected to pass a law on Tuesday making the small South American nation the world´s first to allow its citizens to grow, buy and smoke marijuana. The pioneering government-sponsored bill establishes state regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals. Cannabis consumers would be allowed to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from state-regulated pharmacies as long as they are over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases.
The political temperature in the Arctic rose on Tuesday when Vladimir Putin vowed to step up Russia´s military presence in the region in response to a claim by Canada to the north pole. In typically trenchant style, Putin told his defence chiefs to concentrate on building up infrastructure and military units in the Arctic. He said the region was again key to Russia´s national and strategic interests, following a retreat in the post-Soviet period. His comments were a direct and rapid riposte to Canada, a rival Arctic power. John Baird, said his government had asked scientists to work on a submission to the UN arguing
The phone call came from a charming woman with a bright, engaging voice to the cell phone of a TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer. She wanted to offer a deal on health insurance, but something was fishy. When Scherer asked point blank if she was a real person, or a computer-operated robot voice, she replied enthusiastically that she was real, with a charming laugh. But then she failed several other tests. When asked “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” she said she did not understand the question. When asked multiple times what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained repeatedly of a bad connection.
A porn performer who tested positive for HIV in Los Angeles is asking for privacy as the industry tries to determine the scope of the problem. "The performer deserves privacy and dignity at this difficult time, and we ask that our colleagues and the media respect the performer’s wishes for privacy unless he or she wishes to speak," the Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade group, said in a statement. The Free Speech Coalition said it was working to identify anyone who had sex with the infected performer. “We take the health of our performers very seriously and felt
In China on Thursday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke plainly about the role of a free press in a democratic society. “Innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences,” he said in an address to American businesspeople living and working there. He was speaking against the backdrop of China’s restrictive policies on reporting by foreign news organizations; the Chinese government has so far declined to renew the visas of nearly two dozen reporters from The New York Times and Bloomberg News as a consequence
Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela this week because it is too expensive to travel to South Africa, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Netanyahu had notified the South African authorities that he would fly in but cancelled his plans at the last minute due to the costs involved -- around 7.0 million shekels ($2 million) for his transport and security alone, pubic radio and the Haaretz daily reported. "The decision was made in light of the high transportation costs resulting from the short notice of the trip and the security required for the prime minister
New Orleans - Things traditionally get started a little late down here, an inclination that runs from mealtimes to political races. But with nearly a year to go before the 2014 election, it is already open season on Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. (Snip) As Democrats look across the rest of the South, the outlook does not get much better. Ms. Landrieu, along with Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, is pretty much all that is left of Southern Democrats in the Senate. All three are up for re-election next year. And the outcome of their races could determine whether the Southern Democrat,
When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum. He was omnipresent, visiting my pre-school and the local mall, visible in all of my favorite Christmas specials. Then there was the Santa in my family’s household, in the form of ornaments, cards, and holiday figurines. A near-carbon copy of the first one—big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine. Seeing two different Santas was bewildering. Eventually I asked my father what
US President Barack Obama may have moved the masses attending Nelson Mandela’s memorial service with his stirring eulogy, but it was his grinning "selfie" with the Danish and British premiers that set social networks abuzz. In a candid moment captured by a photographer, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt can be seen holding up her smartphone, with Obama lending a helping hand, as they pose for a picture with David Cameron, all three of them smiling broadly in their seats at Soweto’s World Cup stadium.(Snip)Mashable, the news and technology website, ran the photograph under the headline: ‘‘Dear Obama: Funerals are no place
Johannesburg - A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela´s memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday. Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa´s government said it was preparing a statement. Three sign language experts said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages. South African sign language covers all of the country´s 11 official languages, according to the federation. It wasn´t immediately clear if the unidentified man was using a
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) snapped at conservative groups that have come out in opposition to the budget deal reached Wednesday between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). "They´re using the American people for their own purposes. This is ridiculous," Boehner said at a press conference with other members of House Republican leadership on Wednesday. Over the past few days, a number of conservative groups have blasted the deal because it sets discretionary spending levels in the budget higher than previous levels under sequestration. In the past three days, the influential Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Americans
A black fashion student says he was brutally attacked by a gang of Hasidic men who shouted anti-gay slurs at him while he was walking through Williamsburg after a night of partying, the Daily News has learned. Taj Patterson, 22, was headed home to Fort Greene around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 1 when he says more than a dozen ultra-Orthodox Jewish men began assaulting him on Flushing Ave. and yelling, “Stay down, f----t!”
A “presidential selfie” featuring President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service began making the rounds this morning, but it’s the person not included in the frame who caught everyone’s attention: As anyone with two eyes and a Twitter account has noticed, Michelle Obama does not appear amused. Of course, though a picture says a thousand words, not all of those words are necessarily true. FLOTUS might not have even known the photo was taking place. Or she could disapprove of funeral selfies. Either way.
President Obama’s job approval among American voters has dropped to negative territory with just 38 percent voicing their approval versus the 58 who says they disapprove, according to a national poll released Tuesday by the independent Quinnipiac University. That is one percent less than the 39% who said they approved of him in last month’s poll. The majority of the 2,692 registered voters the University in early December said that the president is not honest and trustworthy. When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?,” respondents gave Obama lackluster ratings