Most challenging robotic mission ever attempted is a success so far.
Mars Science Laboratory arrived at its destination Sunday night at 10:31pm Pacific Time. The MSL team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s control center in Pasadena was ecstatic; the mission control room was flooded with jubilant pandemonium. According to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, who was there along with Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren, "Everybody in the morning should be sticking their chests out saying, ’That’s MY Curiosity rover on Mars!’" The rover is checking out in perfect shape so far, and soon the science will begin.
Progress reports rolled in last night at a rate of about one per minute. Each time a milestone in the intricate system was transmitted home, the team clapped and broke out in spontaneous laughter.
The first two pictures from Curiosity as they were displayed for JPL mission control
Ecstasy breaks out in the JPL Mission Control Room.
Some events in the control room timeline as they arrived (14 minutes after they actually took place on Mars):
10:14 Lost telemetry, received heartbeat signals
10:15 Cruise stage separation, vehicle turns to the correct attitude, which means that the reaction control system rockets are working
10:20 5 minutes to entry, heartbeat tones still coming, spacecraft at about 5.5 km/sec
10:22 MRO began storing data for retransmission
10:24 Reentry began, signal dropped, indicating a change in antennas
10:26 Odyssey data begins flooding in, MSL deccelerating at about 11 G’s
10:28 17 kilometers altitude
10:29 Down to about Mach 2, parachute will deploy at Mach 1.7
10:30 Parachute deployed!!! Spacecraft decelerating well!
10:30 Still descending, at 6.9 kilometers
10:31 86 meters/second, 4.2 kilometers and descending
10:31 Powered flight!!! yes!!! down to 500 meters altitude, 50 m/sec
10:32 10m/sec, 40 m altitude
10:32 1.5m/sec descending, skycrane is working!!!
10:32 Touchdown confirmed!!!! The skycrane worked!!!! Joy in control room. Everyone’s faces are red.
10:34 First thumbnail of Curiosity’s wheel rolls in, cameras working
10:35 Full-sized picture with Curiosity’s wheel, Martian horizon arrives to sheer joy in the control room
Touchdown time was 10:14:39pm Pacific Time, 0.04435, 140.46kg of fuel remaining (out of 400kg to start) in descent stage as it flew away.
Scientists and engineers at JPL will spend the next several hours sorting through data relayed from two other spacecraft in orbit around Mars. Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter were catching the telemetry from Curiosity and sending it home to Earth.
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.