Giant Mars rover blasts off
November 26th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Giant Mars rover blasts off

NASA’s biggest and most advanced Mars rover blasted off Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Curiosity is packed with 10 science experiments to determine whether Mars has ever been suitable for life and to find clues about past life forms that may have been preserved in rocks. NASA says Curiosity won’t answer the age-old questions about life on Mars, but it will provide important information that will guide future missions.

Searching for life on Mars

The spacecraft sent a signal after separation from the rocket, NASA said.

The launch was originally scheduled for Friday, but the mission team took an extra day to remove and replace a flight termination system battery, NASA said.

Curiosity is expected to spend about two years roaming Mars, hunting things researchers say are essential for life to grow: liquid water, key chemicals used by living organisms and an energy source.

The rover lifted off Saturday atop an Atlas V rocket and is scheduled to land in August 2012 in the Gale Crater.

Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as the older Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Its science instruments weigh 15 times as much as its predecessors' science payloads.

The rover has a mast that can extend to 7 feet (2.1 meters) to hoist a high-definition imaging system. It also will hold a laser-equipped camera that can zap rocks to study the sparks emitted for information about their composition.

A 7-foot-long robot arm will hold instruments for soil analysis. Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity can gather rocks and soil to process inside its lab. The rover also has tools to look for water beneath the surface, to monitor the weather and to measure natural radiation.

Curiosity is designed to roll over obstacles up to 25 inches (about 65 centimeters) high and to travel about 660 feet (200 meters) per day. Its energy source will be a radioisotope power generator.

Landing will be tricky because of the rover’s size. As it descends, the spacecraft will make S-curve maneuvers like those used by shuttle astronauts. Three minutes before touchdown, a parachute and retrorockets will slow the spacecraft. Then, seconds before touchdown, an upper stage will act like a sky crane, lowering the upright rover on a tether to the surface.

When Curiosity arrives at Mars, three satellites already in orbit will be listening: NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express. The spacecraft will be positioned to receive transmissions about Curiosity’s status and relay information to Earth.

NASA: Facts about the Mars science laboratory

Post by:
Filed under: In Space
soundoff (1,120 Responses)
  1. TinyKinkyDasaniBottle

    This brings us closer to the return of the reapers, I can't wait to discover the mass relays!

    November 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  2. Dale

    Another massive waste of taxpayer cash courtesy of the Obama administration.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      The planning and implementation of these missions take years, even decades. The Obama administration is proposing missions in 2020 and 2035. The big winner, in economic terms, is the private companies, allied with your party. You are supposed to complain about welfare, foreign aid and the UN. Get on with the program!

      November 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Dale

      Oh I complain about them too, but the truth is if he cancelled this mission today it would save us money. That's a fact not an opinion.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
      • IdahoTom

        Dale, if someone just pulled your life-plug, the Earth is saved from carbon dioxide pollution from you, water is saved and diverted to regions that are more needed, we don't have to kill vegetables and animals to feed you, it's better and saves Earth. It's a fact, not an option. But obviously, that's a SHORT term fact. Obviously, by killing someone with potentials like you is a waste for mankind when you can obviously help discover a cure to cancer, better energy system to tackle our energy issue (not crisis), be a politician to divert funds to projects that you deem more necessary and may well help millions of people. Similarly, cutting the project now will save money that will be used to sustain this project, but you're not taking into any of the side-effect of doing so. If the government decided to pull the plug on this mission NOW or prematurely in the next few years, bright engineers and scientists who actually make difference in our society will not have any confidence in this country, leave for overseas and we'll have a great intellectual leakage to countries like say, China, who is booming still and commits a lot higher fraction of their GDP to science and technology development. The aerospace sector is projected to keep on growing and the technology, knowhow on probe launch capabilities are what's unique to the United States and we surely do not want to lose these intellectual knowhow and infrastructures. There are many many more reasons why killing the project is a retarded "fact" but since I believe for a competent individual like yourself, this amount of reasoning should be good enough to get you rolling in the right thought direction. I strongly believe you have lots of potentials, but you just have to be steered in the right direction I believe.

        November 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  3. Marvin

    w00t! Great launch, best of luck on Mars.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Jim

    Another great sendoff for another wonderful piece of JPL engineering. America needs to invest more in science and technology projects like this.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  5. jordan

    This is very cool and hopefully NASA will find answers to the questions we who are interested in Science ask.Someday we will be glad we went to Space.Someday we may have a life threatening event on our Planet.It is then that the Human Race will be glad to know it will continue.
    And someday we will figure out how to MINE ASTEROIDS and whoever does that will be the richest person on this Planet.
    And I am glad that Science in the USA marches on even though our government doesn't.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  6. Chris

    Why do scientists always look for similar conditions on Earth? Water, carbon, earthly temperatures, etc, these things happened to create life on Earth, but aren't the universal necessary condition for life elsewhere.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Carbon-based life is the only one that we can guarantee exists. At least we know what to look for... There may be others, based on Kriptonite or whatever, but the one on Earth is the one we *kind of* understand.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Theory 1

    Mercury is slowly being sucked into the sun due to magnetic fields. Other planets have went before. Mars will take the place of earth until another planet is sucked up. Very few people will get to take the trip, all others will perish. Steven Hawkins has warned us that the earth has less than 100 years of sustaining life. NASA gives us little and poeple are not enlightened enough to see what's really happening. You can read what the astronauts really saw on the moon. All the planning and preparations have been going on for years.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ray

      Hawkins is a bit radical in his theories,it has been theorized that that won't happen for another 500 billion years

      November 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Ray

    Hope they don't find life,it will be one more lifeform for man to screw up

    November 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  9. us1776

    Perfect launch !!

    I liked the data stream and simulation on NASA-TV. You could see the apogee and perigee changes during the burns.

    .

    November 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Jim

      Yes when the telemetry wasn't cutting out. I was getting nervous there for a bit but every time it flashed back in ground control kept reporting telemetry was nominal. Nice to see live video of the spacecraft separation too, that was awesome.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  10. pulsars

    Venus! We should be going to Venus! The Venusians are less hostile than the Martians!

    November 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Males should go to Venus. Females to Mars.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
      • pulsars

        Ha Ha Ha! Good one!

        November 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • us1776

      The 800 deg temps and 800 psi pressures make it challenging.

      .

      November 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
      • pulsars

        800 degrees! Wow! I bet that's in the shade too!

        November 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jim

      Venus is a much more hostile planet than Mars so the challengers of mounting a successful landing there are far greater.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  11. The King

    Waste of money. Our "space" program, and NASA are little more than another stream of welfare for the same companies that have bilked this country out of trillions through the military industrial complex welfare system.
    USA, its official. You're too stupid to run a country. Turn over your nukes to the UN and await further instructions.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  12. Joe

    How do we know outer space exists? How about planets? It just doesn't seem possible to me.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • junius gallio

      Please tell me you're being sarcastic.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Are you asking about the solar system or exoplanets?

      November 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  13. Myke

    When they finally notify us of what we've known for decades, watch for Blue Beam. Don't be fooled, my brothers and sisters. Do not be fooled.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  14. AaronT3

    This is great news, we need more science. It's such a shame in waste the effort and money people spend wars and killing each other, when we could be learning and growing for better tomorrows. We could be so much more advanced if it weren't for war mongers and death profiteers.

    November 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  15. James Mason

    The folks on here complaining about this being a waste of money seem oddly like the same ones who complained about "Obama Ending the Shuttle!" and "surrendering our space technology", etc. Could it possibly be that there are some people who WANT to find fault regardless of what we do?

    November 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Actually, I think the big debate (of warring proportions) is between the "space manned" vs. "space unmanned" folks. The former is much more exciting, but the latter is a lot less expensive and quick. Which one do we need? BOTH.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  16. Xibumba

    They should have sent it to DC to search for signs of life in the congress.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • James Mason

      Life yes, intelligence no....

      November 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  17. junius gallio

    Your replies would probably be more interesting if they had anything in common with reality.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • indianinusa

      it does. you obviously want to pretend that the biblical stuff in CA's 6th grade books did not come from the democrats.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
      • junius gallio

        I've yet to see a citation of which book, what school districts it's being used in, and who authorized its use. I assume (after a brief search on the internet) that you're referring to a book by Joy Hakim, but beyond that I do not have enough information to evaluate your claim.

        Oh, and by the way, I'm neither "whiteskinned" nor a "liberal." I am most especially not a Democrat. Keep the insults to a minimum if you wish to be taken seriously.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  18. NormanF

    NormanF

    It is quite obviouse to me that Sheila has absolutely no concept of what the "free market is". It is the public -private partnership that has the ability to fund this type research that has been able to develop the products that I listed in my prior post. As for the internet -it was developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network under DARPA (Defense Advance Research Project Agency). With this government research funding, which was then adopted by the private sector to create what we now know and take for granted as the INTERNET, we would still be sending messages by smoke signals. Broadband which we now also take for granted allows for connectivity by wireless and the ability to communicate with others across the world. Private industry or the so called "free market" does not have the risk capital to have ever initiated the research to develop the things we now take for granted.

    Get real people, it is this research that made the USA the greatest country in the world. To take your suggestion to cut this minimal spending on research will only take the USA quickly to third world status as other countries around the world surpass the US in basic research projects.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • indianinusa

      obviously you have no idea of government corruption. all prices are inflated by a factor of 1000 to 10,000. this is why missiles are so expensive. but with fools like you who believe whatever propaganda politicians spout, you will believe anything. in the absence of government BANS on private sector doing this, adventure sports companies would have done it without robbing those not interested in this sort of stuff.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
      • James Mason

        If you can concretely identify fraud or waste, there are hot lines where you can report that and get a portion of the savings as a reward. On the other hand, if you're just a blow hard without any facts to back up your preconceived notions, well, carry on!

        November 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  19. Lee Cherry

    WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY. Im not a "rocket scientist", but as a Christian believer, there are no intelligent beings, other than us, in this solar system. And Im not sure of our intelligence either. Read the Bible, you'll find out there are, however, holy beings that populate the universe. And there are a few humans Jesus has permitted entrance in to the heavens. (Elijah, Moses, and some Jesus took to heaven when He went to heaven the final time). See Matt27/52.

    I hate to burst your bubble, especially Catholic believers, but most people who have ever died are still dead. JESUS LIVES

    November 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      In the science vs. religious matches the former is winning by about 1000 to 0. You are no different from fundamentalist Muslims.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • pna

      Lee, as a fellow Christian you couldn't be more incorrect. How do YOU know God's mind? Where do you see that we are alone?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • James Mason

      Maybe you're a member of the Phelps Church?

      November 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  20. Josh

    I wonder if NASA will pause while in Earth orbit and offer the Russian and Chinese probes a "lift" (pun?) to Mars? 😀

    November 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

      Wish we could help Phobos-Grunt that was an ambitious mission. Is that thing still stuck or did it crash back to Earth yet?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  21. Chris

    I am concern about the landing, it does look quite complex. Does the Mars has hurricanes? I think once the landing sequence starts, it can't be terminated. There is no option of canceling landing sequence and starting over again at more suitable conditions. Also, do you know if there are any plans, to actually transfer Mars rocks an soil samples back to Earth? Or this is one way only mission.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

      Agreed. The landing is going to be the scary part for everyone. It does seem unnecessarily complicated on the surface, but it is my understanding that by virtue of the rover's size alone(the biggest ever) a new–and unfortunately untested–landing system had to be implemented.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      They have 3 satellites around Mars (2 US, 1 EU), among other things they do weather forecast.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • MarshallM

      Chris, Mars does not have hurricanes, but it does have planet-wide dust storms, which would of course, impede or prevent landing. But like others have said here, there are 3 working satellites orbiting Mars and can forecast, with some degree of accuracy, what the weather is like.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "Or this is one way only mission."

      One way only. IIRC there has been only one unmanned mission that went to space and returned. It landed in Utah with samples of some asteroid (?). Missions that return are much, much more expensive (think of the tower and rocket taking off from Mars instead of Canaveral), specially manned ones. This mission is actually a bargain, because the vehicles are disposable.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Adam

      Yeah, one way ticket this time. There is always a worry about dust-storms on Mars, but when they will be arriving is not the dust-storm season, so it is not a major concern. Though as others have said, they will be using MRO and Odessey for weather assessments. They will use this data to fine tune the entry corridor. MLS will not being going into orbit of Mars at all, it's straight to the ground. There is no pause or wait. 6 minuets after reaching the top of the Martian atmosphere, Curiosity (MLS) will be on the ground. Entry, descent and landing (EDL) is probably the most terrifying part of this whole mission for everyone involved. All the pieces of this process have to work almost flawlessly in order to survive. In 8 1/2 months, you guys should watch it on NASA TV. It's fun to watch the scientists staring, nervously at their screens, waiting for the probe to send signals as each step is completed and then finally they erupt into cheers and hugs as it safely lands. It gets even better when the first pictures start coming back.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  22. Ramon F. Herrera

    The only problem with articles about space is that they attract a bunch of wackos. Just scroll up & down...

    November 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Josh

      Most people would call those who watch Star Trek, a "bunch of wackos" . 😀

      November 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
      • Ramon F. Herrera

        As long as the have a clear distinction between science and fiction, I am no problem with trekkies.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  23. That Guy

    Why are we wasting billions of dollars to sent stuff to Mars when we can't even feed the people on our own planet? There is nothing to find out there. If there was life on other planets I think we would have known by now.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • pna

      Wow we could've saved all that money by asking you, what a shame you waited to speak up. You must be the great oracle of knowledge. No sense in doing any more research on anything. We have you now to do all of our higher thinking. Thanks!

      November 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

      really? we'd know by now? please tell us how mr.internetcommentsboard genius? I bet you don't even know how many planets there are in the solar system. also, i doubt you know this because of your seemingly maxed out 4th grade science education, but life can exist on satellites, asteroids, and planetoids too however simple. science is cool, learn about it, teach it to your kids and watch them grow up to make tons of money in highly desirable, prestigious fields.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "If there was life on other planets I think we would have known by now."

      Yeap! That's what they told Columbus in Italy. Small wonder he had to go to Spain to ask for funding...

      November 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day. If you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life"

      November 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
      • barackobama

        Or he will sit on the bank and drink beer all day.

        November 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Marvin

      Fact is there is plenty of food and production capacity to easily feed everyone on earth. Starvation occurs due to failures of the worlds political and economic systems.

      There are enough people idling (unemployed) that taping some of them to build rockets is not going to put a dent in the worlds reserve labor pool which by itself is more than capable of making sure everyone is well fed. How millions of man years are wasted on facebook, TV, video games and blogs that could otherwise have been spent improving instutitions and political systems to enable the hungry to feed themselves? What have you done to feed the hungry? Like most problems this only exist because enough people simply do not care – they allow it to exist. NASA satellite obersvations of the planet earth have done more to help with agricultural planning than cheap talk and strawmans have ever accomplished.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • pirate

      Pure intelligence! LOL... We'd know by now? First of all, the universe is around 14 billion years old. We'd know by now? Maybe there was life elsewhere that died out 4 billion years ago in a supernova. Maybe there is life right around the corner (relatively speaking) 473 light years away, but they only discovered technology and have some radio waves they sent our way 56 years ago and we haven't received them yet? Or they are still swinging from trees? Tell me, genius, how would we know by now if we are still discovering species on our own planet?

      November 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Adam

      If you take the cost of the Mars Science Laboratory program, and divided it by every man, woman and child in America, you end up with it costing about a movie ticket per person. And quite frankly, sending this rover to Mars, with the capabilities it has, is worth a movie ticket.

      I hope you realize that NASA's annual budget is actually less than the yearly profits from the cosmetics industry. And NASA does a hell of a lot more good for this world than the cosmetics people do. I doubt you have any inkling as to just how much NASA has touched your life, just how many NASA inspired technologies you interact with every single day. Trust me, the investment pays off many times over.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  24. That Guy

    Why are wasting billions of dollars to sent stuff to Mars when we can't even feed the people on our own planet? There is nothing to find out there. If there was life on other planets I think we would have known by now.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  25. Ron Bennett

    Good luck Curiosity hope for the best, I have been waiting a long time for this. Over twenty years ago I thought we would have landed a human on Mars before 2011 and instead we are sending a very expensive but capable robot. 12.5 microns is small enough to see about half the bacteria we have here on earth crawling around on Mars where the Phoenix Lander microscopic imager could only see the largest microscopic life forms.
    Life may have been already discovered on the Red planet in the Phoenix Landers microscopic imager see here:

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhfSjJeQf58&w=640&h=360]

    November 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  26. Ramon F. Herrera

    Mars is the only planet we can expect to set foot in. The ones closer to the sun are too hot, and the ones beyond Mars are gaseous. There are solid planets further away, but the trip would last centuries. So, this is it, folks!

    November 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Daniel

      While not planets, the large asteroids (esp. Ceres) and perhaps the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are possibilities, too.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  27. Frangible

    If liberalism and space travel are so incompatible, why does the only spacecraft carrying Americans into orbit today have a name in Russian that roughly translates into "Socialist Union"?

    November 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • indianinusa

      Take it easy on this one. We all know that both the USSR and USA stole the rocket technology from the Germans after WW2. This does not mean we need Nazism in order to further science. One is a political system and the other is science. As for USSR, it opposed some scientific branches and banned genetics and arrested mathematicians such as Boris Gnedenko. Let me guess, you have a degree in English? Or it is Women's Studies or Political Science?

      Russia progressed in science despite all this because it already had a rich culture on this front even in the 19th century.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  28. thes33k3r

    Science

    November 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  29. Dan

    I love it. People using space age technology to complain about why we don't need to go into space.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • PasadenaSue

      Dan – Thanks for the laugh! it's easy to complain, especially when people don't even know anything about the topic they are complaining about. 🙂 And I am sure these same people think that the internet doesn't cost anything to run.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  30. paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

    people who complain about government spending and waste but can't even consider scaling back military spending are like fat chicks that wanna lose weight so they order a diet coke with their supersized #6 value meal. they make cuts in every area except the ones that really matter.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/16/wait-how-big-is-nasas-budget-again/

      November 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • STOP SPENDING NOW

      Shut up. Defense has nothing compared to entitlements.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
      • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

        facts aren't so as compelling as misguided beliefs do they? if you wanna complain about entitlements go to whatever asinine website your kind flock to (iliketofukmamum.com?) and leave this science blog to people who can form cogent points and like science. the fact is that nasa's budget is comparatively small to defense spending thats all. I will not engage you anymore. Were you conceived with a weak sperm? Maybe your dad was jerking off in a tube sock and your mom sat on it at the last second, the already weak sperm had to swim through a dirty sweat stained gym sock and you were the end result. maybe that's why you are the way you are. But now I admit that's just a theory.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  31. joey

    youre never gonna find life in cleveland, give it up

    November 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  32. Sheila

    This mission is mis-named. It should be called the Boondoggle. It is a total waste of taxpayer dollars.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • PasadenaSue

      Really Sheila? How is it a waste? Care to elaborate?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
      • Ramon F. Herrera

        Sheila says that we should let private companies (viva el capitalismo!! BTW) to go to the moon and Mars and the stockholders will get their dividends within a couple centuries, at the earliest. I gather she is buying stock of private space tourism companies.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  33. Brad

    NASAs Budget is 0.69% of the federal budget. (or about 8X less than the expert in the video said.)

    November 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  34. Ramon F. Herrera

    Free markets would never have gone to the moon, cured polio or AIDS, created the Internet, etc. Let alone keeping the Earth's environment sort of alive.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Sheila

      The free market would not have felt the vain, jingoistic reasoning behind the moon missions, true, but those other things you mentioned are 100% the result of the free market.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
      • NormanF

        It is quite obviouse to me that Sheila has absolutely no concept of what the "free market is". It is the public -private partnership that has the ability to fund this type research that has been able to develop the products that I listed in my prior post. As for the internet -it was developed by the Advanced Reasearch Projects Agency Network under DARPA (Defense Advance Research Project Agency). With this government research funding which was then adopted by the private sector to create what we now know and take for granted as the INTERNET we would still be sending messages by smoke signals. Broadband which we now also take for granted allows for connectivity by wireless and the ability to communicate with others across the world. Private industry or the so called "free market" does not have the risk capital to have ever initiated the research to develop the things we take for granted. Get real people it is this research that made the USA the greatest country in the world. To take your suggtestions will only take the USA to third world status.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • Adam

        Polio vaccine was invented by a scientist, not a free-economy corporation. The Internet was created at CERN in Europe as a means of sharing vast amounts of data between scientists in partnership with the folks at DARPA in the US (Defense department), again not free-market. Climate awareness is from scientists again, as the free-market repeatedly resists attempts at regulating their emissions, AIDS has yet to be seen. Haven't cured that one yet. But you were significantly wrong in your other assertions about the free-market, and I'd be willing to bet that it isn't the free market that discovers how to cure AIDS either. Free markets do not have any interest in progress, they have an interest in maximizing profits, which is why they add one or two new features to the iPhone each time the release it. They could be far beyond where they are now, but this is how you maximize profits, release a single piece at a time and make everyone buy it again. Free market does not equal rapid progress. Sorry.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Brad

      The Lunar Lander was built by Boeing.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
      • pna

        The Lunar Lander was built in the 60's by Grumman.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Free Markets would have never built the US Global Positioning System. Market forces, however, are at work: see the EU's Galileo system which is competing with our GPS.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "The Lunar Lander was built by Boeing."

      ...and the little lunar car by Ford. EVERYTHING was built by private companies, every *part*.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
      • Daniel

        Well, many of the scientific packages were built by NASA centers and some by universities....

        November 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • pna

      Indianinusa; please substantiate all of your claims...otherwise it's just internet prattle.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  35. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Shoot money into space or flush it down Third World toilets. Anything to keep from spending it on people who need it here.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Not too happy with the concept of leadership??

      November 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      We would have computer chips, the Internet, cell phones, or teflon without the space program.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • Sheila

        Correct, we would definitely have those things. The government had little to do with any of them.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
      • Ramon F. Herrera

        "The government had little to do with any of them."

        I would say that the government had a LOT to do with World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Space race. Without them, we would NOT have personal computers, etc. DO you have an idea how much money Uncle Sam gives to Stanford (and they proceed to invent Google), to MIT (inventors of OSS and the Internet), etc?

        November 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • PasadenaSue

      Hey Ralph, have you ever driven down to KSC and seen the facilities? And the houses, hotels, restaurants in Cocoa Beach that are supported by KSC? And how many flights people take on U.S. airlines to travel there and back? The money is being spent here – in Florida, in the U.S. Enjoy!

      November 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
      • Daniel

        Or you can come to Texas, and visit the Johnson Space Center in Houston!

        November 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Darwin

      Or waste multi-trillions on pointless wars and bloated world police defense budgets.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • pna

      The problem is we spend too much on giveaways and NOT enough on the sciences. Those sciences keep people employed, whether it's thru the government or private enterprise. Your post shows great ignorance of the subject.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Adam

      Yet another person who goes about their life without any understanding or concept of just how many things they use daily were inspired by NASA. Money spent in space is an investment that is well returned. Ten-fold or more. GPS, miniaturization, airplanes, traffic safety, car design, manufacturing, mattresses, microphones, communications, farming, etc. There are very few facets of your life that have not been helped by NASA.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  36. Frangible

    Man, what a waste of money. Who cares about Mars?

    They should have spent the money on domestic programs to help most Americans instead. Like grants for police department to purchase riot gear to clear out so-called "protestors" for the benefit of the people and workers of the world.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • palintwit

      Sieg Heil herr Frangible !!

      November 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

      yea i agree. spending a couple billion dollars to employs thousands of american scientists and engineers and other government employees is silly especially since this mission is peaceful and only serves to answer some of mankind's most basic questions about our solar system. We totally should have spent that money on pepper spray, riot gear, tasers, and other weapons for the SS brown shirts, ehem I mean republicans, ehem, dang I mean police. Go eat a bullet fascist.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
      • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

        please extricate your corrupted DNA from the gene pool. Nothing I said was communist, but now don't allow facts to get in the way of your beliefs. republicans never do, what am i worried about?

        November 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • STOP SPENDING NOW

      At least it's a more useful waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Frangible

      Right, because kicking people off of public land which they are destroying, and making them go home is exactly like the Jewish Holocaust, where they were taken from their homes and sent to death camps on public land.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  37. aMom

    You can bet they won't find life but it is not a waste of money. The technological advances that are an off-shoot of this venture will benefit all of us. A side note: life begins at conception. Want to find life, scientists? Look into the womb.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Daniel

      The Europeans have detected methane plumes on Mars; and they seem to be seasonal, which might hint at something other than geologic process....

      November 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Adam

      True, NASA has not designed MSL to be a life detecting mission. The purpose of MSL is to discover what the early environment of Mars was like to better understand where to go to look for evidence of life in a later mission.

      That said, your next bit is a bit fallacious. Animal life begins in the womb. Not all life is animal. Bacteria are living things. They are not born from a mother and do not gestate in a womb. Yet they are alive. This is more what scientists will be looking for in terms of life. Simple, single celled examples. The fossilized remains of this type of life is much more likely to have survived from Mars' past, and it's unlikely that complex, multicellular life evolved on Mars given that it lost its magnetosphere and atmosphere quite some time ago.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  38. Jeffrey Root

    Get your facts straight CNN. NASA receives about half a penny on the dollar. Not 5 cents.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  39. XBD

    Who's to say that life on Mars or other planets have to arise from the same chemicals that caused life to arise on Earth? We're searching for chemicals and liquid water.. maybe there are lifeforms out there which do not need either and we're missing the boat completely.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  40. Cassandra Chu

    Imagine how far along our space program would be if we had given it all the money that is wasted on Iraq and Israel....

    November 26, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      The Iraqi oil is used to power the rockets. We can now place space antennas in Iraq.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Adam

      No oil is used in powering these rockets. Usually they are hydrazine or LH2 + LO2, or solid propellant bases and a gasseous oxidizer.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  41. Deep North

    SO! It really does take a rocket scientist to figure out that....Venus...too close to the Sun......, Mars too far from the Sun...., Earth, Just right!

    November 26, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Adam

      Actually, you're wrong. Venus and Mars are both within the habbitable zone. However, something went wrong at both planets. Venus has a runaway greenhouse effect going on in which far too much sulfur has been injected into the atmosphere. The surface temperature and pressure can crush iron and it rains sulfuric acid. With Mars, the magnetic field stopped working and solar wind blew the atmosphere away. We don't know why either of those events happened. Those are things we are trying to learn as either could happen here as well. But both planets were, at some point, capable of harboring life.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  42. Gawd

    Close your eyes you religious nuts. This is about science.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  43. JJ

    Watch, go all that way and no one will be home.....

    November 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  44. Scott

    America needs to invest massively in space travel and science in order to build the economy of the future. Cutting innovation and research has never created one job or fed one hungry child. Quite the opposite in fact. Peter and other head-in-the-sand individuals on this list would keep enslaved to a system in which we do everything to the lowest common denominator. That is the road to extinction.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  45. billgme

    The uneducated seem to think this is a waste of time and money. The gov't is lying to us? Science and space exploration have contributed so much to humanity. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan opposites politically, both believed strongly in what exploration of space can do for mankind.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Today, Kennedy and Reagan would not be very opposite each other. The fundamentalist wackos (aka baggers) that have taken over the GOP would fire Ronald Reagan, calling him a bleeding heart liberal. The insane have taken over the asylum.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
      • pna

        You obviously know nothing of Reagan, or the Tea Party for that matter. Nice try Lib.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
      • Adam

        pna, Reagan spent massive amounts of money, supported education heavily, didn't raise taxes, but supported them at a far higher level than they are today, etc, etc. The list goes on an on. He is the diametric opposite of today's GOP and especially the Tea Party. I am a Republican btw before you just lash out with a label instead of a logical reply to factual information and comparisons.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  46. Jamesreznor

    I think this is a very exciting mission, anything that we can learn about this mysterious planet will be a plus. Eventually planet Earth will not last forever and Mars could be a habitable planet if the resources are there. Man can introduce plants to generate oxygen, heat up the atmosphere by introducing the necessary gases so the icecaps could melt and create water in the planet (greenhouse effect). I read somewhere there are projects behind the scenes are working to accomplish this. The planet is a lot smaller than earth and has less gravity. It would be very interesting to see how this planet can turn out with a little makeover from humans to make it habitable and full of life.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  47. Concerned Patriot

    I think one-shot missions to other planets are a waste of time and money. It benefits too few people and too few job producing companies. How many people truly care about Mars rocks and dust? These types of missions demonstrate short-term vision only. Let’s think long-term first. Let’s get people excited.

    First, we make extensive revisions to the Internal Space Station. We convert it into a shipyard. Right now, only a handful of people can actually work up there whereas there are 1000’s of people down here who would love to get a chance at it. We need to get more people up there.

    Second, we then send cargo rocket after rocket up there and slowly assemble a large vehicle; one that could hold dozens of people, not all of whom have PHDs or are Colonels in the Air Force. This will be a test bed for propulsion, life support, navigation, and other control systems.

    Third, we launch and test it in our own backyard. We don’t send it to Jupiter or Mars where the trip takes years. I am talking about a Sunday drive instead. We do many Sunday drives. May even zip around the moon and back but not too far away. Learn from our mistakes. Make refinements. Generate excitement. Accidentally create new technologies and methodologies while learning from our mistakes.

    Fourth, when our International RV is sound enough for the Big Road, then, and only then, do we send it out to collect rocks and dust or do more exciting things. And during this time, we make more IRVs.

    This concept, I think, will generate much, much more excitement amongst people. Science will actually be considered cool like it was in the 50’s. And think of the jobs it will create. Tell the kids that they too can get up there, but only if they get A’s and B’s in Science and Math. Watch their grades increase.

    No other type of movie draws people in like a good Sci-fi flick. And that is just what this type of effort would be. For now, forgot about the rocks and dust.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Dan

      I am glad that you are not in charge.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  48. Odin

    John Zarrella–NASA's budget is closer to .5% of the national budget rather than 5%

    November 26, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      I noticed that too. It is 5 cents out of 100 dollars. They guy blew it.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  49. delirium454

    With all the stupid money we spend on useless things in this country, I can't understand why some people are having a problem with money being spent at NASA. NASA is still one of the only few remaining beacons in this country that make this country great. Decades on training engineers, scientists, and technicians NASA has done more good for this country than any other endeavor in history. Questioning whether this is money well spent is a borderline idiotic.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  50. ChimeeeChow

    What a waste of time, money and resources. With all the problems here on earth what could be worth spending all that money in exploring a dead planet? If the human race was meant to live on another planet, don't you think we would have evolved there?

    November 26, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • junius gallio

      Is that anything like "If the human race was meant to fly, we would have wings?"

      November 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Daniel

      We evolved in present-day East Africa, then colonized the rest of Earth. Earth is the cradle of humanity, so space is the next logical step. Or should we remain in the cradle forever?

      November 27, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  51. STOP SPENDING NOW

    As a taxpayer, I weep at this colossal waste of my hard earned money. Defund NASA, defund foodstamps, defund welfare, defund the Departments of Energy and Education.

    Cut corporate tax rate to zero. Let the free market determine such things.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • junius gallio

      Is that tea, or kool-aid?

      November 26, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • STOP SPENDING NOW

        Stop stealing my money. I don't want my money spent on stupid science.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • junius gallio

        When you become king, and rule by decree, then we can take your positions seriously. In the mean time, here in the real world, money in the federal budget is not "your money," it's "all of our money," and the majority of Americans support the space program.

        Sorry, you've been outvoted.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • palintwit

      Surely you must have some bagging or birthing you need to be doing somewhere, don't you ?

      November 26, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      The pyramids, the Eiffel tower, the polio vaccine, the interstate highway system, the Internet, etc., etc. were build with public funds. As soon as the Internet became profitable, the government pulled out of it.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • STOP SPENDING NOW

        Any Government spending, with the exception of defense, is immoral.

        The Interstate was justified to make the transportation of nuclear warheads easier.

        The internet was justified by improving data transmission across long distances for the benefit of those developing military strategy.

        Everything else the free market should have dealt with.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • junius gallio

        >Any Government spending, with the exception of defense, is immoral.

        As I said, become king, and then we can discuss your views. Until then, the United States is governed as a republic, and neither our current Congress nor our President seem to agree with you.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "Let the free market determine such things."

      I bet you support the construction of a $49 billion border fence. The hiring of undocumented workforce is capitalism, demand and supply, market forces and competition at its best and finest.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • STOP SPENDING NOW

        I don't. I don't believe in primitive concepts such as "race."

        If people want to cross our border, that's fine. Unless they have guns. Then we should kill them.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:51 am |
      • Ramon F. Herrera

        "Unless they have guns."

        I believe that is called "Selective second Amendment".

        November 26, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Scott

      Great, then we'll let you cure your own diseases, for starters.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • pna

      No, No, folks, he just said "stupid science." That means he gets to pick what it's all spent on. We'll call it "Stop Spending Now's Science" instead. It'll only be smart science then.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  52. cacalips

    I'M ALIVE, WHY DOESN't MARS COME TO ME?

    November 26, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "We already did, but found no signs of intelligent life"
      -Signed: Mars

      November 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  53. NormanF

    At the launch of ATLAS 5 John Zurrella and T.J. Holmes mentioned that some question whether the money spent by NASA is worthwhile considering the U.S. deficit and debt. There is no doubt that this money spent over the years has not only benefited mankind as a whole but has also created new technologies, industries and jobs and has contributed much more to the US economy than the cost.
    AT THE HOSPITAL..."Cool" Laser Heart Surgery
    Nobody thinks it's "cool" to have a heart operation, but thanks to NASA technology a "cool" laser is providing thousands of patients with an alternative to heart bypass surgery.

    It is estimated that some five million Americans suffer from "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), the single biggest cause of heart disease and related ailments. Until recently, heart bypass surgery, which replaces clogged blood vessels, was the main treatment for serious cases.

    A non-surgical alternative to some patients is balloon angioplasty. Through this procedure, a flexible catheter with a tiny balloon at its tip is threaded into the blocked artery and inflated to widen the path for blood flow.

    In January, 1992, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new surgery method derived from laser technology pioneered by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for remote sensing of earth's ozone layer. This laser surgery can help a broader range of patients than balloon angioplasty.

    The procedure involves threading a small catheter through coronary arteries. The laser light is carried through fiber optic bundles within the catheter. Another group of fibers shines a light at the tip to provide video pictures of the inside of the artery. Watching the video pictures, the doctor can spot areas of blockage and fire short bursts of laser beams to vaporize them. While other types of lasers are too hot for delicate heart surgery, the excimer laser operates at a "cool" 65° C, a temperature that human tissue can tolerate.

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Space Telescope Looks for Cancer

    Breast examinations (mammographies) help in the detection of breast cancer. Until recently, if a doctor saw an a trouble spot on the x-ray he or she would order a biopsy procedure. A biopsy required surgery to cut into the breast and obtain a tissue sample. Now, however, with the help of Hubble Space Telescope technology, biopsies can be performed with a needle instead of a scalpel.

    Charged coupled devices (CCDs) are high technology silicon chips that convert light directly into electronic or digital images. Goddard Space Flight Center headed the development of an advanced, supersensitive CCD to be installed in the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997. The LORAD Corporation of Danbury, Connecticut adopted the new CCD for their breast biopsy system.

    As shown above, the patient lies face down with one breast protruding through an opening. The device images breast tissue more clearly than conventional x-rays. This allows the system to pinpoint the area in question. The doctor can then use the specially designed needle to extract a tiny sample. The patient can then walk out of the office and resume normal activities.

    The procedure costs about $850 compared to about $3500 for traditional biopsy surgery. The new procedure also saves the patient time and pain, and leaves only a small needle mark rather than a large scar.

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Body Imaging

    In the mid-1960's, as NASA prepared for its Apollo moon landing program, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developed the technology known as digital image processing to allow computer enhancement of Moon pictures. This technology later became the basis for the NASA Landsat satellites.

    Digital image processing is now being used by doctors and hospitals to record images of organs in the human body. Two of the most widely used body imaging techniques are computer-aided tomography (CATScan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    CATScan image data is collected by aiming a fan-shaped x-ray beam from a number of different directions around the body. A tomographic (slice-like) image is reconstructed from these multiple views by a computer. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images, rather then x-rays.

    In most cases, CATScan is used for bone, while MRI is used for soft tissue (such as the liver shown above). Both methods are often used to obtain a complete diagnosis for a patient. Doctors and engineers are working to combine the best features of MRI and CATScan. One of their research tools is a computer program originally developed by NASA to distinguish among Earth surface features in Landsat image proces

    AT THE HOSPITAL...New Arms and Legs

    The making of artificial limbs is known in the medical world as prosthetics. This field also includes orthopedic aids such as knee and neck braces. The Harshberger Prosthetic and Orthotic Center, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama specializes in making these devices (an artificial arm is shown at left).

    Harshberger wanted to improve the way it makes artificial limbs. There was a need to replace the plaster and corn starch materials used to make molds for new arms and legs and similar devices. The plaster molds were heavy, easy to break (and unfixable when they broke), and were hard to ship and store. Harshberger asked NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama if they could help.

    MSFC and the Lockheed-Martin Company are responsible for building the space shuttle external tank. The ET is covered with a foam insulation. It protects the ET from heat, and keeps the liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen inside the tank at proper cold temperatures. The ET insulation is lighter, stronger and can be worked more easily with a machine than plaster. Also important, the foam material is less expensive to use.

    Harshberger tried the ET foam to make molds for the fitting of artificial limbs. It worked! The company was able to reduce the costs of making an artificial limb, which lowered the cost for patients. They were also able to mass-produce foam "blanks" for making molds, and began to ship them to artificial limb makers all over America.

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Infrared Thermometer

    Believe it or not, in the U.S. alone, someone takes someone else's temperature about two billion times a year. And that's just in hospitals and the doctor's office! The two billion figure doesn't include all those anxious moms and dads checking on junior's fever.

    If you think that's amazing, think about this: the latest in thermometer technology was made possible by NASA's ability to measure the temperatures of stars and planets - without ever leaving the ground!

    Taking the temperature of distant bodies is made possible through sensing of infrared radiation given off by the star or planet.

    Diatek Corporation of San Diego, California, asked NASA to help them develop the sensor technology for a hand-held thermometer that takes a person's temperature in less than two seconds. The thermometer has a probe that is inserted a little way into the ear. (The patient doesn't even have to be awake.) The probe is thrown away after use and replaced by a new one, as a guard against cross-infection.

    To take someone's temperature in two seconds saves nurses a lot of time!

    At the Hospital…Light at the end of the Tunnel for Cancer

    Light emitting diodes (LED), used for plant experiments on the Space Shuttle, are being used to perform surgery on patients with brain cancer. Photodynamic Therapy, a MSFC Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Quantum Devices collaboration, uses LEDs to activate photosensitizers (light-sensitive, tumor-treating drugs) that have been injected intravenously. Light activation allows the drugs to destroy cancerous cells, leaving surrounding tissue virtually untouched.

    As a result of over five years of research and experimentation, the LED probe has gained FDA approval. Cancer treatment trials using the LEDs have thus far included skin cancer and brain tumor patients, with promising results.

    A second chapter in the partnership focuses on LEDs wound healing powers. Subject improvements in wound healing will have multiple applications, including long-term space flight, military solutions, and civilian medical care. LED usage for wound healing has been approved by the Naval Special Warfare Command.

    The transfer of LED technology from experiments for the Space Shuttle to the medical community is but one eAt the Hospital..."Smart" Composite Forceps
    NASA X-33 composite material was used to create a new improved obstetrical forceps. These "smart" forceps, with embedded fiber optics, will allow doctors to measure the amount of pressure being applied to an infant's head during delivery. The elasticity of the composite material and the ability to tailor its thickness along the length of the forceps will prevent the physician from exerting too great a force.

    Most doctors get their first experience of using forceps in an actual infant delivery. These composite forceps will be used to train medical students before they step foot into the delivery room.

    Example of how NASA's commercial space research leads to improving the quality of life on Earth.

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Pill-Sized Transmitter
    Monitors Fetus from Inside the Womb
    Medical personnel can monitor fetal activity from inside the womb using a small pill-shaped transmitter developed at NASA's Ames Research Center in Field, Calif. Pill transmitters are used to measure blood pressure and temperature in astronauts aboard the International Space Station, but they are being studied for a number of applications on Earth. The transmitters can be implanted in the intrauterine to monitor fetal activity; swallowed to monitor intestinal activity; and are being developed for use in monitoring athletes and high-stress professionals such as firefighters and soldiers.

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Digital Mammography
    Provides Clearer Images, Less Radiation
    Technology developed for monitoring changes in the Earth's atmosphere is now being used for the early detection of breast cancer. The digital image detectors, similar to those found in video cameras, were developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The system captures sharper digital images, while exposing the breast to lower doses of radiation, than with conventional mammography. The images can then be digitally stored or sent via computer

    AT THE HOSPITAL...Camera on a Chip
    Used to Diagnose Osteoporosis
    Physicians soon may be tracking the onset of osteoporosis using "camera-on-a-chip" technology developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The small, lightweight camera chip, initially developed for recording images in space, incorporates onto one chip all of the electronic controls normally requiring multiple chips. By consolidating the controls onto one chip, the devices are smaller, lighter and use a fraction of the energy of multiple-chip cameras. For patients, this means smaller dosages of radiation-as little as 1 percent the dose of a normal x-ray-and a lower cost.

    FOR SCIENCE...Global Communications
    If you look At Home, you will see the role NASA played in developing satellite TV transmission technology. But TV signals are only one kind of data transmitted by satellites. Telephone signals, computer data, and computer images are also beamed around the world via satellite.

    Many American companies sell satellite data transmission services. These commercial space communications systems evolved from high-risk technology developed and tested in orbit by NASA in the 1960s and 1970s. This technology base allowed the US telecommunications industry to lead the way in building and operating communications satellites.

    NASA’s series of Applications Technology Satellites (ATS) were launched between 1966 and 1974. These satellites (ATS-6 shown above) stimulated advancements in telecommunications technologies in areas such as:

    geosynchronous orbit (GEO) – orbiting with the Earth so that the satellite is always above a particular spot on the ground
    satellite stabilization – keeping the satellite from wobbling in orbit
    use of digital computers
    solid state high-power transmitters
    large antennae that provide high quality signals to small ground receivers
    advanced materials (such as graphite composites) for building satellites
    NASA also pioneered the use of GEO satellites to “look down on" low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The GEO satellites relay data between the lower LEO satellites. Data is also relayed from the LEO satellite through the GEO satellite and down to the ground. This technology means that NASA and satellite companies can operate their satellites with a minimum of ground stations.

    NASA has deployed six of its own Tracking and Data Relay Satellites. TDRSS is a network of GEO satellites that provides communications and tracking services to the Space Shuttle and other low-earth orbiting spacecraft.

    The latest in a long line of NASA experimental communications satellites is the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) (shown at left). Launched in September 1993, ACTS serves as a "switchboard in the sky." ACTS is being used by industry, universities, and government to develop new satellite services, including real-time TV transmission to airliners.

    Today, commercial companies are taking the lead in providing satellite services to the public. However, with ACTS, NASA remains on the forefront of developing satellite and data transmission technology.

    FOR ALL HUMANKIND...Feeding the World –
    And Other Worlds Too
    Lush, ripe tomatoes hang at the end of the boat ride in the Land exhibit at Disney’s EPCOT Center. They aren’t there just for looks. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Disney World are working together in a novel government and industry research partnership.

    NASA and Disney are finding ways to use human and industrial waste to provide the ingredients needed for growing edible plants. This technology will be needed for establishing human colonies on other worlds.

    Many vegetable farmers around the world are learning how to grow crops without soil. This method, known as hydroponics, is increasing the Earth's food-growing capacity. Wheat and soybeans have already been grown using this method. Future crops will include peppers, other kinds of beans, spinach, oats, barley, strawberries, and herbs. Growing food without soil also has promise for long space flights. Astronauts will grow their own food without carrying heavy soil into space.

    FOR THE ENVIRONMENT...Oil Spill Control –
    None of Your Beeswax!
    How do you clean up an oil spill? With balls of beeswax, what else?! These aren’t your usual balls of beeswax, however. These contain microorganisms (little critters that can only be seen under a microscope) that “eat” oil.

    Petrol Rem, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Penn. invented the idea. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center helped to design the tiny beeswax balls (microcapsules).

    The beeswax microcapsules are designed so that water cannot get in, but oil can. When the oil seeps through the shell, the microorganisms inside release enzymes that digest the oil. When the balls get full of digested oil, they explode. They release enzymes, carbon dioxide and water, all environmentally safe. This mixture is even good fish food!

    For All Humankind...Preventing Landmine Explosions
    A current activist movement has increased the visibility of the problem with landmine explosions. Landmines maim or kill hundreds of innocent people and children every day. It is estimated that more than 110 million active mines are scattered in 70 countries with an equal number stockpiled around the world waiting to be planted.

    Thiokol Science and Engineering has developed a more effective way of de-mining these mines by using NASA Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM) scrap propellant. The flare is easy and safe to handle. It is simply placed next to the uncovered landmine and ignited from a safe distance by a battery-triggered match. The flare burns a hole in the landmine's case and ignites its explosive contents. The explosive burns away, disabling the mine and rendering it harmless.

    Because the usage of the scrap propellant is free, the ability to proliferate landmines is more probable. The scrap propellant is not only useful in the eradication of landmines, but it is recyclable as well.

    AT HOME...Cordless Power Tools and Appliances
    Do you use a cordless drill or shrub trimmer? How about a Dustbuster®? Did you know that the technology that made these products possible came from NASA's Apollo program?

    Astronauts needed a way to drill down beneath the moon's surface, as much as 10 feet, to collect core samples. Like everything else that went to the moon, this drill had to be small, lightweight and battery-powered. To develop the drill, NASA chose a company that has since become well known for its cordless products: Black and Decker.

    A key technological advance made the battery-powered drill possible - a computer program was used to design the drill's motor to use as little power as possible. That computer program, along with the knowledge and experience gained in developing the drill, provided a strong technology base for developing battery powered tools and appliances.

    Black and Decker now sells approximately 400 million dollars worth of cordless, rechargeable products per year.

    AT HOME...Smoke Detector
    Hopefully you've never been waked up in the middle of the night by a smoke detector. It would be bad enough in your home, but imagine having a fire on your space ship!

    In the 1970's, NASA needed a smoke and fire detector for Skylab, America's first space station. Honeywell, Inc. developed the unit for NASA. Smoke detectors are now required by law to be placed in all new homes. They are credited with saving countless lives.

    So, the next time you're awakened by a smoke alarm, remember, it could be worse. Try running outside a space ship in your pajamas!

    AT HOME...Clean Water for the Home
    Many families are buying water filters for their homes. One model is the HOME Guardian filter made by Western Water International (WWI) of Forestville, Maryland. The filter is installed under the sink (as shown at left) or in the "dead space" between the sink and the wall.

    This filter uses technology developed by WWI, combined with NASA technology. During the Apollo program, NASA developed a system to sterilize the astronauts' drinking water. This method included the use of ions (an atom or group of atoms carrying a positive or negative electrical charge) as part of the water filtering system.

    The H2OME removes lead, chlorine, bad taste and odor, and other bad stuff. WWI also sells filter units that can handle large volumes of water. These are used in large buildings, and even by entire towns in countries where the water is contaminated.

    AT HOME...Home Insulation
    Have you ever scratched your head wondering why your electric bill is so high? Even after you've installed rolls of insulation, or had insulation blown into your attic, or caulked your windows?

    Until recently, home insulation has not been a very exact science. But would you believe there's now a company that will install insulation then guarantee that your house will only use a specified number of kilowatt hours per year?

    It's true, thanks to an aluminum heat shield developed for Apollo spacecraft. The heat shield was designed as a barrier to keep heat or cold or in or out of the spacecraft that took our astronauts to the moon.

    The Guaranteed Watts Saver SystemTM is marketed by Guaranteed Watts Saver Systems, Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina and Smart-House Consultants, Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They combine space technology and other high tech ideas to provide significant savings in home heating and cooling costs. Their NASA-derived Smart-House Radiant Barrier is designed to reflect away 95 percent of the sun's radiant energy.

    Pretty cool!

    AT THE AIRPORT...Lightning Protection
    Bad weather is bad news for airplanes. One of the most unpredictable elements of a storm is lightning. NASA's Langley Research Center played a leading role in lightning investigations with its seven-year (1980-86) Storm Hazards Research program.

    The project used a research airplane that flew into storms hoping to be hit by lightning! They were successful. The plane was struck more than 800 times!

    NASA found that lightning injects a large number of electrical currents into an airplane. These currents can cause problems in the plane's electronic systems, including incorrect instrument readings.

    These and other findings led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require that critical aircraft electronic systems be protected from the effects of lightning beginning in 1987.

    Lightning Technologies, Inc. of Pittsfield, Mass., worked with NASA on the Storm Hazards Research Program. They are now selling lightning protection systems to aircraft manufacturers worldwide.

    AT THE AIRPORT...Windshear Prediction
    Another dangerous situation for aircraft is windshear. Windshear has been blamed for over 30 aircraft accidents in the U.S., and the loss of hundreds of lives. After a bad windshear accident in 1985, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA began to work together to find a way to predict windshear, and to give pilots enough warning to take preventive action.

    Windshear is a sudden shift in wind direction and speed. The microburst is the most dangerous form of windshear. A microburst is a column of cool air that creates intense downdrafts and powerful, swirling winds near the ground. If a slow moving airplane, especially one taking off or landing, passes through a microburst, the winds can cause it to lose control and plunge toward the ground.

    The system that became the first in airline service is the Doppler microwave radar. It sends a radio wave ahead of the aircraft to "bounce" off of raindrops in the thunderstorm and return to the instrument. A computer measures the Doppler shift (the difference in wavelength frequency between the outbound wave and the returning signal) and tells the pilot the speed of the winds in a windshear. The pilot can then avoid the area, or adjust the speed and/or altitude of the plane.

    Flight tests of the system began in 1991. Like the lightning protection project, NASA had the job of flying into thunderstorms - 131 thunderstorms to be exact. (Anybody looking for a fun NASA career?!) These tests showed that the forward looking Doppler radar was able to provide pilots with 20-40 seconds of warning of upcoming micobursts.

    In November 1994, a Continental Airlines flight was the first to carry the new windshear detection and warning system.

    NASA has helped to make air travel safer for passengers and crews all over the world. Many American airlines are using the system, plus Swissair (Switzerland), Alitalia (Italy), Iberia (Spain), and Kuwait Airways.

    AT THE AIRPORT...Collision Avoidance
    Bumping into a thunderstorm in an airplane is no fun. But bumping into another plane is definitely worse!

    American skies are crowded with aircraft, especially around airports. Even in the mid-1950's aviation groups began looking for ways to warn pilots if they were getting too close to another plane. But it wasn't until the 80's that more advanced technology allowed a system reliable and cheap enough to be installed on thousands of passenger planes.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) led the development of the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TACS). NASA's Ames Research Center was in charge of testing the system's human performance factors. This means they wanted to be sure that pilots could accurately and quickly use the system.

    How did NASA test this collision avoidance system? With huge airborne games of chicken? No! (Thank goodness!)

    Using ground-based flight simulators, NASA tested how well airline pilots understood the TACS, and how long it took them to react to various situations. The TACS' software was then modified to make it easier and faster to use.

    Just about any passenger plane you fly in now has a TACS. After NASA helped get the system ready, FAA required that TACS be installed on all passenger planes with 10 or more seats by 1995.

    IN THE MUSEUM...Dead Sea Scrolls Brought to Life
    The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave in Palestine in 1948. The ancient parchments contain many materials in the Bible and related to the Bible. The scrolls have recently become available to experts all over the world. One problem, however, is that many of the scrolls look totally ruined to the naked eye. The black ink is invisible against the ancient blackened parchment.

    Some of these parchments were supplied to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) by research groups. JPL used technology earlier for document monitoring at the National Archives, as described in the Historic Documents article, above. They examined the fragments with highly sensitive electronic cameras and computerized image processing techniques. JPL was able to increase the contrast between the ink and the parchment. A line of Hebrew letters brought to light by NASA technology translate into "he wrote the words of Noah."

    IN THE MUSEUM...Looking for a Hidden Masterpiece
    People who work in museums often find evidence of a second painting beneath the painting they are looking at. Painters of old often painted over someone else's work – or their own. In most cases, the artists could not afford new canvasses.

    "The Crucifixion", shown above left, is by an unknown 17th century Flemish painter. When the head of conservation at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) looked at it, he saw signs of another painting underneath. How do you tell whether the covered painting is an unknown masterpiece?

    Usually, the painting is x-rayed. But x-rays only show a blurred double image that does not have enough detail to tell the subject or the creator of the underpainting. The LACMA asked NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to help in seeing the covered painting.

    Using technology used to process images from spacecraft, JPL developed a method for separating the two x-ray images. These computer programs "subtract" the top painting from the bottom, so the hidden painting can be seen in greater detail.

    In the case of "The Crucifixion", another 17th century painting was found. If you look at the painting shown to the right, you can see a man's face (to the left-center of the painting). To the man's left is a woman sitting with her right arm propped on a table.

    Though in this case no hidden masterpiece was discovered, art museums now have an option when trying to decipher the works covered up by yesterday's artists.

    FOR SCIENCE...Laser Sharp!
    Lasers emit narrow, intense beams of light. The beams can be used to drill, cut or melt materials. As you can see At the Hospital, lasers can be used to cut out diseased body tissue. Laser beams can also be used to transmit communication signals. Microlasers are miniaturized, solid-state lasers that offer much better performance that traditional lasers.

    Amoco Laser Company of Naperville, Illinois, is a leader in microlaser technology (one of their models is shown above). Their lasers are used in many applications, such as medical instruments, color graphics and printing, advanced TV projection, telecommunications, data storage, and semi-conductor processing.

    In developing their microlasers, Amoco combined their technology with advances made by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL’s work concentrated on using lasers to communicate between Earth and spacecraft millions of miles away. Amoco adopted JPL’s approach of using tiny diodes (which deliver electrical current) to “pump” a solid state laser. This method is very efficient electronically and produces a very narrow and precise laser beam.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • SteveJ

      Nicely done, too bad there are still plenty of people who think that everything you stated is wrong, a government lie, or still a waste of money. I hope I live to see another manned mission to another planet or the moon.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  54. Apul M'Deek-Aoud

    Next we need to send a rocket to the SUn so to if there's life there.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  55. Noname

    Nice.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  56. Mystic American

    By launching this shuttle on Thanksgiving weekend, does that mean we've also had to pay federal employees more overtime wages? They couldn't have done this on a Monday through Friday?

    November 26, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • pna

      1) It's not a Shuttle, that program ended in July. 2) Launches require less personnel than a regular work day because of the danger areas being evacuated.3)Try to read and comprehend before whining about something you know zip about.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  57. james

    Before we go searching for "signs of life" lets try to fix this one on
    Earth...the aliens dont want our c rap !

    November 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  58. hank

    I think absurd to think this is a waste of money, this has more like an initial step to terraform mars for future generations – may be 1k yrs from now – as earth will become inhabitable...i doubt we'll have enough technology in 1k yrs to find and reach a habitable planet in a different solar system.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  59. chancygardener

    Humans actually originated on Mars but they trashed the planet and had to move to Earth. Over time the record of the move was lost. Since we are trashing this planet we are now considering moving back to Mars. Hakuna Matata !

    November 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  60. jrc903

    Interestingly enough, very few of those who know something about science and world history- would agree that this is a waste of money. However, spending real money on what would now be called Intangible, does seem to throw the high-school educated (or less) crowd for a loop. That said- money spend on exploration has always had its critics–educated or not. But at least in one sense it might turn out to be a waste of money–many many years Spain and Portugal spent money needed for domestic consumption, and look where that got us. Hundreds of years later- we have plunders North America of its riches– and still have not ERADICATED IGNORANCE.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  61. JackDW

    Say, what's all this about a NASA Mars rocket being launched? – Fox News & their fellow republicans told me over & over last year that Obama completely ended NASA when he retired the farty old space shuttle.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • pna

      If you libs want more lies go to MSNBC for them. No other news source is required for the ignorant liberal mind. Stay ignorant, stay liberal.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  62. jiwat

    Sweeettttttt!!!!! For all you science haters, and non believers, as a mechanical engineer I believe there are many of you that are afraid of the truth. Why travel to the stars??????

    Answer this why did prehistoric man cross the African plains, why did they cross the mountains Europe and Asia. why did Columbus cross the Ocean blue in 1492?????? Exploration is in our nature!!!!!!!!!

    Without humankinds curiosity and exploration we would still be cave men!!!!!!!!! Or do you all not see that!!!!!
    Myself, I would volunteer to ride the first manned flight to deep space.
    While it seems there are many that would be content to play with fire in a cave!!!!!!

    November 26, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  63. AGuest9

    All fundies leave, the Belief Blog is elsewhere. This is about reality.

    November 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  64. Pier

    Jeez there's some incredible ignorance going on here! NASA asked an annual budget this year that would've equaled 2 weeks of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and DIDN'T get it! Why bother with space exploration? Because there are 7 billion people on this tiny planet and growing! Stephen Hawking just said if we don't start managing to put people on other planets within the next 100 years we're simply going to run out of resources here. I think that's optimistic. More than 3/4 of the earth lives in poverty right now. Trying to get humans to Mars before we've fully explored it with robots would be a waste – which is why Obama stopped Bush's idiotic mission to send people to the Moon. Mars is clearly more hospitable than the moon. BTW, NASA has been building the rovers from off the shelf parts for a decade now at a fraction of the cost of prior missions. We couldn't possibly be spending less on space at the moment and still claim to have any program at all.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  65. FrankR

    Unless we find a way to travel at much greater speeds and go to other star systems, all of this testing to find out if life on Mars ever existed is just a collasal waste of money which is making a certain group very rich.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • dextermorganreturns

      Which group? Mars was once like earth, but something happened to change it. What happened, and can it happen to earth? Was there ever any life on Mars, and if so, were they advanced enough to visit earth millions of years ago? Can mars become habitable when earth dies and can the human race live on by moving to mars?

      These are just a few questions that will be answered.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:55 am |
      • FrankR

        When the Earth dies, probably all the other planets in the system will be dead.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  66. Rick

    This waste of money is not about science.....
    it is about the prolonged attack on God.
    In the beginning God vs Goo,
    Wake up world, and Give GOD the glory!

    November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • jeffro

      Religion is the biggest scam in the history of the universe

      November 26, 2011 at 10:51 am |
      • Ted Bleen

        Watsa matta? Daddy not nice to you when you was little?

        November 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
      • pirate

        haha – you must not read your bible.. kill kill kill kill, then some rape, human sacrifice, throw in a little slavery, ok well not a little, god instructs his people to attack towns and enslave everyone they don't kill... Then of course don't forget the baby killing by god after hardening Pharoah's heart (poor guy lost his free will there...).. a dash of racism (Canaanite woman has to refer to herself as a dog getting scraps from the table to get Jeebus to cure her daughter), elitism, major intolerance, the list goes on and on, verse after verse...

        November 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • dextermorganreturns

      Rick. There is no such thing as a personal god and anyone who believes otherise is delusional.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:52 am |
      • FrankR

        and how do you know that?

        November 26, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • gman

      yes Rick you are correct

      November 26, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • AGuest9

      Rick is obviously deluded.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:01 am |
      • FrankR

        Why? Rick may be right.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Andrew

      There is no god you idiot.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:11 am |
      • FrankR

        I guess you have all the answers then? How can you be so certain?
        Remember this, "the fool has said in his heart that there is no God"

        November 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
      • ktisis

        Thank you for admitting you are unaware of one of the basic tenets of the scientific model. It is impossible to prove a universal absolute negative. Therefore, you assertion is the culmination of a mere emotional response. Move past emotion and do a little research in the ig Bang theory, DNA, fine tuning, the fossil record, universal morality, intelligence, self-awareness, etc. You will see the obvious reasons that most of the great scientists of history (Darwin, Einstein, Newton, Hoyle, etc) were theists, not atheists. So...if acknowledgement of "God" equals "idiocity" then Darwin and Einstein were IDIOTS? Wow. I cant follow you there. Sorry.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • kardiac

      Rick giving us proof that there is no Sanity Clause

      November 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Daniel

      Rick, this is not attacking God. It is understanding God. We are given an intellect, to use, not to waste. The more we understand our solar system, galaxy and universe, the closer to God we get. No parent wants their children to remain ignorant.....

      November 27, 2011 at 10:25 am |
      • Pirate

        Oh no – not the god delusion!

        November 27, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Adam

      This guy might fall over and die if he realized how many scientists actually have religious beliefs as well.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
      • pirate

        They should read their bibles.. Kill kill kill, rape, pillage, kill some more, enslave, then kill some babies, then even the livestock, then discriminate, and don't forget to kill anyone that has a different belief! lol... But as you go up the ranks to the brightest scientists on the planet, the amount of atheists only goes up. Stephen Hawking anyone?

        November 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  67. Richard

    Dam-n! I was hoping instead of this Mars probe, they could spend the money on more welfare for people unwilling to work.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • dextermorganreturns

      Yet another high school drop out.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
      • FrankR

        Trolling are we?

        November 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • palintwit

      There is only 1 job for every 5 people who are looking. This is because the republicans have been letting these jobs go to China and India for many, many years now.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • pna

        You must get your news from MSNBC, by all means, stay ignorant.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
      • Daniel

        So who voted for the politicians of both parties who allowed this?

        November 27, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  68. DS

    Good to see my tax dollars at work. $15 trillion in debt and we are still blowing rockets in the sky looking for Martians.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Richard

      Thank you, senator Proxmire. Now go back to your cave, luddite.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • jeffro

      The space program is worth every penney, it is a great day. Do you approve of the $700 billion a year we spend on our military?

      November 26, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  69. caliboss

    Waist of money.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • jeffro

      Humans must explore, or we lose our humanity. Believing that there is no life around the trillion trillion stars in the universe is the ultimate human arrogance.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  70. palintwit

    Astronomers at the "Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory / Bait Shop" have already found life in another galaxy. It appears to be a planet composed entirely of teabaggers, as evidenced by their lack of teeth, misspelled protest signs and preoccupation with boinking their cousins and watching nascar. These 'space baggers' as they have come to be known, live in large colonies of double-wide trailers. Some have indoor plumbing.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • CB21029

      LOL

      November 26, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • pna

      Keep staying ignorant and watching MSNBC Libtard.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
      • Daniel

        "libtard"? Well, maturity is dead for you, eh?

        November 27, 2011 at 10:29 am |
      • Adam

        Kind of killed any credibility your argument had by ending it with name calling. That doesn't really help your case along, you know?

        November 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  71. Lilarose1041

    It is sad there are the whiners on this forum who think this is a waste of money. What is a waste of money are the young people who have been given a free education, for the most part, from preschool through high school and chose to drop out. These NASA projects might be the only "science" many of you ever see, so enjoy it. We spend this much in a day for our wars. The original Rover programs were exciting, especially when we realized they would venture farther and longer than originally thought. If this rover is successful, it will bring back photos you can't imagine of the Planet Mars. Try to be happy about something, kids! (signed, Granny)

    November 26, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • jeffro

      The $10 billion a month that we spend in Afghanistan would go a long way in promting space science and technology

      November 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
      • FrankR

        Why not first take care of problems here on Earth.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • Adam

        Exactly! NASA's entire annual budget is just shy of 18 billion. Two months of war would actually give NASA a raise for the year. And to those who want to fix the problems here at home... what do you think NASA is doing!? Do you have any idea how drastically farming techniques and crop fertilization techniques have been fundamentally changed by NASA? Do you have any idea how much medicine has been changed by NASA? Global communications? Material manufacturing? Pollution control? There are very few aspects of human life that NASA has not improved, made easier, made quicker or made safer. So please, check your facts and do some research before you make ridiculous claims of waste. For having one of the smallest budgets imagineable, they make good on the investment many times over. They are the only agency to do that in the entire government.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  72. JC

    Maybe they can send a rover to Washington DC and see if it can find any signs of life there?

    November 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • junius gallio

      Oh, there's _life_ in Washington, DC. _Intelligent_ life? That's ... a very good question.

      😉

      November 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • CB21029

        Those of us who were born and raised in Washington D.C. have plenty of intelligence. It's those head cases you folks in the 50 states send here every 2, 4 and 6 years that make us shake our heads. What were you people thinking? If they aren't spending your money on bridges to nowhere they are funding wars to topple tyrants who didn't have weapons of mass destruction. Please take them back and search your states for someone, anyone with intelligence, character and good judgment. And if you can't find anyone like that, have the decency to say "Pass" on election day and let everyone else pick leaders for all of us!

        November 26, 2011 at 11:51 am |
      • junius gallio

        >It’s those head cases you folks in the 50 states send here every 2, 4 and 6 years that make us shake our heads.

        Fair point–and I should have specified "in the government," not "in D.C." Thank you for your gentle correction.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  73. Jeff Delagado

    These NASA missions are pointless to me and will continue to be until they land a rover at the CYDONIA area of Mars where the "Face on Mars" was found by photographs taken by Viking in 1976 and a TON of Pyramid monuments/structures nearby as well. The fact that scientists don't do this tells me that:

    1. These missions are 100% rigged and censored by the US Gov't. Where we will never get the truth.
    2. They know that CYDONIA is real and is the reason for the continued missions

    Don't take my word for it. Google "Cydonia" and read Hoagland's book "The Monuments of Mars".

    Remember- admitting that there could be life other than on this planet will frighten the religions of the world as they will be WRONG.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Daniel

      We have many more modern pictures of that region from more recent American and European orbiters.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • jeffro

      Believing that we are alone and that there is no life around the trillion trillion stars in the universe is the ultimate human arrogance

      November 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Richard

      Another GOOD reason why the superstitious and pig-ignorant "99%" should NEVER, EVER have more or, or control of money.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |
      • junius gallio

        Excuse me, Richard, unless you make more than $1.5 million a year, you are part of the "99%".

        (So am I, but I certainly don't believe the "face on mars" hornswaggle.)

        November 26, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Beverly NC

      Another uneducated Republican moron who watches FOX and knows nothing about science, technology or the benefit we have gotten from all the innovations NASA created that ended up saving lives here on earth. Did you know many critical medical tecnologies came from NASA – machines that detect cancer early, treatments for rare illnesses and other inventions related to our cars and safety innovations? Of course not. Since you watch FOX, you would not know but a research stiudy was done to figure out why people seem to be so ignorant of the issues facing our nation, so ignorant of the world around us, (like the Republican Bachmann who didn't know Libya was in Africa or Santorum who thought Africa was a country rather than a continent, or Cain who knew thought the Soviet Union still existed or Bachmann again who throught the Civil Rights Act was passed by our "founding fathers" in the 1700s). Turns out as they parsed the data – the most ignorant and uninformed people in our country watch FOX, They are more stupid on everything – even than people who watch NO news at all. Republicans love stupid people because they can lie to you and you never know the difference, They laugh at your ignorance because they can take away everything you have,give it to corporations, and you don't even realize they hate you and are working against you.
      Do yourself a favor and care about FACTS. If Republicans are so "Christian" then why do they consistently break the Ten Commandments on a daily basis?? Lying, bearing falise witness, stealing, constant sexual scandals, and exactly what part of the teachings of Jesus do they follow? Destroying programs for the poor, taking away food programs for poor children, destroying education so people can rise above their situation, trying to kill all healthcare, Medicare and Social Security while those in Congress get free healthcare and pensions paid for by We the Taxpayers via the government? What hypocrites and liars. Republicans have intentionally destroyed our economy, not one jobs bill, not one job from their corporate buddies who will never bring our jobs back here when they can have slave labor abroad. Republicans are self-serving liars bought by corporations. They do NOT serve We the People. They serve whoever pays the highest bribes. They are destroying America at the altar of greed. Vote ALL Republicans out of every state and national office in 2012. let's take back our Rights they have eliminated (workers and voting), rebuild our education system for our children's future, and make corporations who want to do business here actually pay TAXES. Most pay ZERO yet their CEOS make hundreds of millions in salary while people are starving and losing their homes. That is not Christianity. It is not even human. No more Republicans anywhere and watch America flourish and grow to greatness again.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
      • pna

        Another ignorant libtard posting more baseless MSNBC rhetoric. Keep on dreaming that "yes we can" BS. Your rants are amusing.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
      • Ted Bleen

        Beverly, I think America would flourish and grow a lot faster without your whining.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  74. Conrad1978

    Watching the lift off on CNN. EXCITING!!!!
    Love how people want to know if 354 million is toooo much for NASA's rover. But what I really love is how they transitioned of top stories to a possible NBA deal & yet no one is mentioning how NBA players get WAY TO MUCH money for playing a game kids play for free.
    You can see where people's priorities lie. What a dumb world we live in.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • pna

      Conrad the ignorant wish to remain so. Americans spent $18.5 billion on video games last year. That's the entire NASA budget.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  75. w l jones

    A person can go to Mars in a pressurize cylinder with a good oxyigen supply without any problem only one thing he will be so dizzie when he get there he wont be able to do anything untile his body adapt to weightness. Looking at picture of the red planet it were a wet planet in it distant past thereby water is still under ground . Some people think what it like out in space some people been out there and know first hand what it like out there.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • AGuest9

      A perfect example of why our educational system has failed us.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  76. ed lowe

    according to most surveys, between 62 and 66 percent of Americans like the space program. Thats a clear majority. You people who think its a waste of money have a valid point of debate. But because you are in the minority, you simply have to put up with the fact that this program is going to exist despite your objections. When it comes down to it–much of the money being used on Defense spending is a total waste of money. Are we at war? Are there any countries who might invade us tomorrow? But we have to agree to spend this money on defense because otherwise we are unAmerican, or soft on defense, or peaceniks, or what ever. How many other things does our tax money get spent on that some people think is a waste while others think its beneficial. We are a mammal who must satisfy our curiosity and explore the unknown in order to balance our excess energies in my opinion. We are technically an evolutionary mistake–are brains are too big and too advanced–we are literally made to think too much. If we didn't balance that trend with exploration and science I believe we would exterminate our species out of boredom and religious fury.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • ed lowe

      and when I ask "are we at war?", I am asking whether congress has officially declared war and not whether a President has with the help of congress, circumvented the constitution "AGAIN" with the war powers act.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "Are we at war?"

      Yes. Economic war.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Beverly NC

      Amen. The Defense Dept (or more aptly the WAR DEPT) wastes TRILLIONS on defense contracts for products that never get built because of design flaws or the fact the military never wanted them in the first place. Repubicans love war because it makes money for their corporate defense buddies. Why do you think they are screaming about us leaving Iraq – a lie of a war Bush made up to go steal Iraq's oil for Cheney's oil company, Haliburtion, who had ALL the contracts in Iraq. Not one care about the soldiers whose lives they took. It is all about greed for Republicans.
      Reduce the Defense Budget by half and we would still be just as safe because most is graft anyway. We could re-fund actual valuable programs like EDUCATION, NASA with its incredible science and tecnology advancements, college access so our students can become engineers, scientists, researchers, teachers, and contribute to America being the best educated and leading innovator in the world again. Get rid of Republicans and their obtruction of everything positive for the PEOPLE and our FUTURE and watch us floursh and thrive again. No Republicans in ANY office come 2012.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • pna

        No Liberals in office come next election. The country should wake from it's MSSNBC nightmare. The kool aid is widespread.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  77. Apul M'Deek-Aoud

    Oh sure, this is a great way to spend tax payer money.

    Peple are starving, libing under hi-way brdiges, commiting crimes just so they can feed their familes or get three hots & a cot.

    ANd we're going to send ba-zillion dollars rockets to Mars to findout...it's a dead planet.

    Duh...I think most of US already know this.

    Ask any wino what is on Mars & he'll tell you, rocks, lots and lots of them.

    Just another way to make the military industrial complex richer.

    And you wonder why the OWS wants to hang the 1%'ers from light posts? Wonder no more.

    People in AMERICA are starving, dying, and we're taking trips...to Mars. Oh brilliant, just fargin brillilant.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Daniel

      The entire budget for NASA is less than 1% of the federal budget! Perhaps you should look at more significant expenditures. There is a lot of waste to be found in other programs. And many of those programs do not advance our scientific knowledge. To eliminate or reduce programs that are designed for the future of both the USA and humanity is short-sighted, at best.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • Apul M'Deek-Aoud

        1% is a significant number in the 10s of billions. We get nothng for it.

        Mars is dead, so are all the other planets in our solar system.

        Leave it at that & feed your hungry children.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:28 am |
      • us1776

        Apul M'Deek-Aoud, it's not either-or. We need to do both.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
      • Adam

        Apul M'Deek-Aoud, NASA's annual budget is less than 18 billion. The cosmetics industry makes more than that every year. Which is a bigger waste? The beer industry makes billions a year, which is a bigger waste? Besides, you would be pretty hard pressed to find something in your day to day life that hasn't been influenced by NASA research or technology. without NASA, the modern world does not exist. Period. You have no idea how important NASA is to humanity. Most people don't, because NASA doesn't care. They don't parade around crying for attention when they develop something or advance something. They announce it, and that's it. Many times, they don't even announce it. They just quietly go about their business of making things better and let other companies take the credit.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
      • pirate

        Now wait a sec, don't bring beer into this!!! lol... Its NOT a waste!!! 🙂

        November 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  78. Tony

    Very tricky landing method. I hope it goes well. It's a great project, but it has to land intact first.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  79. Steve

    I'm all for 'exploring' out space but NOT at the expense of people suffering back here on the 'rock'!! We've got a LOT of problems here on Earth that all this 'exploration money' could surely help alleve!! I'm 'thinking' here that there are some rich & powerful people that want to find another planet to 'escape' to now that they've got this one all effed up, LOL

    November 26, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • EarthPlanet

      Yes! Let's take all that money and feed the "poor" here so that they can get even more lazy, expect even bigger government handouts, and reproduce to have even more useless offspring!!

      November 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • rjo3491

      Remember Steve, all this money being spent is employing folks who buy stuff and keep the economy moving.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Tony

      Steve it's about learning.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Daniel

      Will taking ALL of NASA's budget solve poverty? No. Of course not. People make bad choice: dropping out of school, not studying hard enough, not working hard enough, having children when the cannot afford them, etc. We will never solve poverty. But to slash scientific advancement is what a nation in decline would do.....

      November 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  80. Marquis

    I'm NOT a Space Geek, but I have a question: If the Earth is approximately 93 million miles from the Sun, why is CNN anchor T J Horn CONSISTENTLY claiming that the Rover trip to Mars will be a WHOPPING 354 million miles?

    If the Rover is set to touch down by August 6, 2012, wouldn't it have to be traveling about 57,000 mph? Isn't that more TWICE the speed of our most recent Space Shuttle (22,000 mph)?

    Does he REALLY mean 35.4 million miles? Maybe one of you out there can give me clarity on this or even notify CNN of this possible MISINFORMATION...

    November 26, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • rjo3491

      ...it doesn't fly in a straight line. It goes into an increasing solar orbit until it reaches Mars. Use for six months and you come up about right.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
      • Beverly NC

        Did you ever attend school or did you just miss science class completely? You must be a Republican. They are the most ignorant when it comes to science, technology, innovation and educaton. They have destroyed our education system and given all our children's education money away in more corporate tax cuts. NO MORE REPUBLICANS come 2012. We must save America's future from these stuck in the past uneducated morons. We need ALL Democrats in our state and national legislatures to end corporate welfare and re-fund our greatest treasure and our greatest investment for the future – EDUCATION, SCIENCE, and TECHNOLOGY. Out with all greed, lies, hate, and ignorance Republicans have ruined our nation with.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "possible MISINFORMATION..."

      When you were are child, we you lied a lot to???

      November 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  81. Bill

    NASA – Leading the world in movie-making production and technology.

    November 26, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Dan, Tx

      True, another multi-billion $ industry boosted by NASA research. It ain't easy getting 3-D HD movies made on another planet.

      November 26, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Some of the rare industries that help the balance of trade (exports minus imports) are: aerospace, scientific instrumentation and Hollywood. You just attacked all 3 of them.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  82. asgardshill

    There's something I don't understand about how this Rover is supposed to land on Mars. The article says that the upper stage is supposed to act like a "sky crane", lowering the Rover via tether to the surface. So what keeps the upper stage from crashing down onto the Rover when IT lands? Does the upper stage have a rocket motor that moves it out of the way or back into orbit or something? And if it does, what keeps the rocket motor from contaminating the landing area?

    November 26, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      The whole landing animation is in YouTube.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_Ljhhtka6c&w=640&h=360]

      November 26, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  83. Ramon F. Herrera

    How come the launch does not appear in the TV Schedule for the NASA Channel?

    http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/tvlistings

    November 26, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Adam

      Because it was yesterday. This article is a followup to the launch, not a pre-launch explanation.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  84. smeal

    Even if they do find evidence of life which they won;t what next? There obviously is NOT enough oxygen to support human life, Are they going to continue to WASTE large amounts of money on something as USELESS as this? I mean why do they continue to do something so STUPID. What are they trying to achieve? How are we as the people of this only planet that is capable of sustaining life benefiting from these STUPID LARGE WASTE OF MONEY PROJECTS?

    November 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Dan, Tx

      Most people in this country disagree with you. The majority of Americans support NASA and its mission and are willing to pay the higher taxes to see this mission. Understanding more about Mars, even if it is a purely academic pursuit, should be encouraged, because the process of doing the project advances science and engineering and there is a small but real possibility of an unexpected but highly valuable discovery.

      November 26, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Gracko

      So just because you can't realize an instant gratification return on your investment, it's a waste of money?

      November 26, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • EarthPlanet

      Go brush your tooth, redneck

      November 26, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Do you have an idea how much technology, jobs are produced by NASA? Consider the GPS system, weather forecast, spy satellites and Google maps, for starters. Additionally, we will to send to Mars people like you.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Daniel

      NASA's entire budget is less than 1% of the federal budget. How is this a "LARGE" wats eof money? None of it is spent IN space. It is spent creating jobs here in the USA, and keeping highly skilled engineers working on non-military programs. For the simple and awesome goal of advancing human knowledge.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • ScienceGuy

      If they do discover live existed on Mars it will fundamentally change our perspective on our place in the universe. It will mean life is common in many places in the universe and we are not alone. It will shatter our belief in religion. It will be a new horizon for mankind ... dumbazz.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
      • Pier

        I didn't even consider that part since I assume life exists through out the universe, great point. Beyond that though we're principally looking for elements that can be used as a fuel source for getting home and I would imagine for other things like feeding soil for a green house, etc. Whether we're ever able to terra-form Mars or not may be a moot point. 7 billion people and growing, we're going to have to start sticking people there oxygen or not. And if it's not terra-formed then we're talking about extracting oxygen from ice (already found underground at the poles).

        Isn't it clearly obvious that the survival of our species depends on colonizing other planets?

        November 26, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  85. Russ

    The tricky part is going to be when the upper stage hovers, then lowers Curiosity down to the surface. This thing cost billions. It could all end badly if it doesn't hover correctly and Curiosity crashes to the surface. Gotta believe the engineers have it figured out though. It will be amazing if it goes as planned.

    November 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Beverly NC

      Your "facts" are flawed and you should not comment on a mission you know nothing about. My son-in-law works for NASA, is a brilliant engineer, and is working on the MARS project. Their budgets have been drastically cut but they still manage to product amazing new scientific achievements. We have always learned much from our space endeavors and many things too long to list here have benefitted us here on Earth from what was learned during the process of innovation and discovery. Be glad we still have a science institute. Republicans have destroyed everything else related to education. We are nation falling behind the world now due to Republican stupidity and inability to understand science and the importance of well-educated people for our future.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
      • Me

        Once again Beverly, please leave your political rants off this page. You complain about NASA's budget cuts then imply that they are all the result of Republicans. I will point out again that the Obama administration cut NASA's budget this year.

        http://www.space.com/10845-nasa-2012-budget-announcement-obama.html

        Again, I will leave my political slant off this site and I suggest you do the same. To clarigy, I am not stating I support either major party at or even a minor one. I am just stating the fact that the current administration also wants to cut NASA funding. Please pick a political blog for your rants or just resist the urge to post.

        November 27, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • Adam

      Exactly right, except for the cost. It cost hundreds of millions. Not even 1 billion was spent on this. NASA does far more with their money than any other agency manages to. They know how to stretch a buck and get the most out of it. Hopefully this new landing system works as designed. It should. The best and brightest among us put years of their lives into it.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  86. Gabe

    Does anybody know how fast this thing will be traveling through space? Just curious...this it too awesome not to follow...thanks.

    November 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      25,000 MPH.

      http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=547
      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/curiosity/index.cfm?page=faq

      November 26, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  87. Obama in Space

    ....Mez and Chelle are going to Mars on a taxpayer funded juncket!!

    November 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  88. Rob

    Dumb question. Are these rovers bacteria free? Could we inadvertently be introducing life to a lifeless planet?

    November 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • MarsFan

      Almost and not likely. There are significant efforts to reduce the bacterial spore count on Curiosity to negligible values.

      November 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      The Mars atmosphere is highly acidic, freezing cold and has no oxygen.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Beverly NC

      And this person is the very reason we need to be investing in SCIENCE and EDUCATION in our country. Ignorance and stupidity are a common Republican trait. They don't believe in science and destroyed our education system and look at the comments to this article to see how stupidity is scaringly what you mainly see. We can do better for our children but uneducated Republcans who are destroying our leadership in knowledge must go in 2012.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  89. Gezellig

    A question...is there any live on earth that could survive on Mars currently? If so, why not "seed" Mars with life? I mean, if the Martian atmosphere is 95.32% CO2, why not seed it with plant/bacterial life that would seek water and convert some of that CO2 to O2?

    November 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • MarsFan

      There are some exotic earth-based microbes that might have a shot at it as is. By the way, the Martian atmosphere is very thin. If you converted *all* the CO2 in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen, you still have 50 times less than humans need to survive. (And yes, there are ways to thicken the atmosphere. Google "terraforming".)

      November 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Gracko

      Humans have not had very good success introducing species, whether plant or animal, into new environments without some kind of unforseen backlash, even in environments we know almost everything about. We'll have plenty of time to pollute Mars once we figure out how to get there.

      November 26, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Dan, Tx

      Possiblly, but not on the surface. Some microbes on earth exist over a mile below the surface. For many microbes, oxygen is poisonous. For these microbes, if seeded well below the surface of Mars in a warm location (geothermal), they could well survive and produce toxic waste products, such as oxygen.

      November 26, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Notehead

      I think there's an important ethical issue here. Until we have made an extremely thorough effort to determine that is absolutely no extant life on Mars, shouldn't we wait to introduce lifeforms from our own world? Also, on a purely practical level, the knowledge we could gain from studying anything that is already there could easily provide a greater benefit to humanity than a few decade's worth of altering that atmosphere. Let's not rush to wipe it out, even inadvertently.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:27 am |
      • PasadenaSue

        Notehead, you are correct. That's why NASA is careful to clean off the rover and skycrane prior to launch so microbes aren't accidentally introduced on Mars.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  90. G-run

    oh yea! one more thing i was part of the operation in getting the rover over to the cape....so theres a sense of accomplishment in seeing this thing ready to launch tommorrow..

    November 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • peter

      Thanks for help wasting our money

      November 26, 2011 at 7:28 am |
      • Tony

        Yeah the money could have been well spent invading some other country and establishing freedom and democracy.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:21 am |
      • OMAC

        If by wasting money you mean employing thousands of people, then yes, let's waste more!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  91. Mista. Edison

    Just to let you guys know, turkeys can fly!

    November 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • rjo3491

      I think that this is really cool. I hope we keep doing it!

      November 26, 2011 at 9:12 am |
      • Beverly NC

        Isn't it wonderful to still see small acts of real science, innovation, and intelligence in our nation? Republicans do not believe in science, have destroyed our educaton system, closed schools, laid off teachers, made college all but impossible and our own corporations say they cannot find enough education engineers and technology-trained people for the jobs they do have. NASA is still pursing science, still pushing for new froniters in knowledge, still keep America first in exploration and innovation. Let's hope we wake up and rid the Congress of ALL Republicans in 2012 so we can go back and refund education, hire back quality teachers, teach our children the importance of education and knowledge, refund educational programs like PBS, the Arts, promote reading, and other college paths for students.
        Our BIGGEST national security issue is EDUCATION. Republicans are too stupid to realize this for they care nothing about it. We need to have the smartest, best-trained, highest level scientists, researchers, and tecnology dreamers to keep America number one in the world. Thank God NASA has still surivived Republican ignorance. Let's stand up for the best education and science training in the world by getting rid of ALL Republicans in every state and national seat. Let's move America FORWARD and not backwards where Republians live and think. ALL Democats in 2012 for refunding critical educational programs for our children and our future.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:56 am |
      • PasadenaSue

        It is VERY cool! Think how cool it will be to have three orbiters and two working rovers on Mars when Curiosity arrives? Congratulations to the MSL team on this impressive event. Spirit and Opportunity lasted years beyond their original mission. Adding another rover to the mix is exciting.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • pna

        Beverly, your obviously well misinformed so trying to talk sense into you will do no good. If you think Republicans are responsible for the nations massive debt you had better read and learn. Ignorance is why we have this current administration in power.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
      • Greg

        @Beverly NC

        Hyper-irrational hatred of large groups of people is really unbecoming for anyone. You read a pretty cool article about a space mission and your first thought was "Republicans do not believe in science...". Really? Let's table the clearly permanent fixation on the object of your inexplicable hatred. Do you really take as axiomatic that Republicans don't believe in science and go from there? Please calm down. Consider laying off the comments for a while.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • Will i am

        Beverly NC you are about as DUMB as they come! Republicans are responsible for the "No child left behind act" Which is the most important legislation to have a positive impact on our kids future. People like you are the reason why we keep getting idiots elected into office on both sides.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
      • BurtWay

        Wrong, Beverly. The unemployement level among engineers is about 90,000. We do not need more of them. We need to employ those we already have. You have good intentions but have believed the lies of companies that they cant find workers so as to justify their outsource of jobs to other countries.
        Example: On the CNN cable special "Dont Fail me Now: Education in America." Soledad O'Brien interviewed Xerox CEO Ursula Burns who told us about the thousands of "unfillable " engineering type jobs. I went to the Xerox web site xeroxcareers and searched their job postings for "engineer".

        I got seven - 7 !!! - hits. even I was surprised how few this was given that Xerox employes 92, 000 people. Seven engineering jobs is a crisis?

        November 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
      • tryscience

        Beverly – I am a science teacher. You are right right right. The others vilifying you are distorters of facts. As those of us who deal in evidence say "Torture the facts enough and you can make them agree with any of your preconceptions." That is what they are doing. Keep posting. BTW – NCLB is a big failure.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
      • Science517

        Hate to tell you BeverlyNC, but Bush increased funding to NASA and challenged them to go to Mars. I really hate how you took something so wonderful as NASA launching the Mars Rover and turned it political. Does not say much about yourself.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
      • SB Berry

        Will I am....do you know any teachers? No child eft on their behind is the worst policy to ever hit our publicly funded schools. Seems like just awhile ago that Obama and his friends said NASA was going to pursue peace with Muslins as their mission...not space. WHat was that all about?

        November 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
      • Tom

        I think what Beverly was trying to say and which some of you like Greg missed the point on, is that the Republican/GOP ideology teaches that government is generally "bad" and that it should ONLY be maintaining security (police, military) and promoting American ideas overseas to pave the way for American business to make money.

        You can't argue about the party platform, its out there. You can't argue about the constant speeches about "smaller" government being the best. How small is small enough and what does small vs. large mean in reference to government. Very few Republican administrations have proposed any science spending that was not in some way military driven. Even the moon landings (which were kicked off by Kennedy, a Democrat), were planned as a way to "beat the Soviets"...again, science was not the priority.

        Just look at the stated spending priorities of Republicans and it will be obvious – if its not military or designed to help business or religion then they are not interested and consider any spending outside of THEIR priorities to be "big government".

        November 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
      • Science517

        Also BeverlyNC, I am conservative and vote a mix, but I do vote Republican more than Democrat (60-40). I studied Biology and will receive my MS in Water Chemistry this December at UW-Madison, the second largest scientific research University in the USA. Your ignorance "Republicans don't believe in science" is horrible. I could counter, based on that comment, that Democrats don't believe in knowledge and tolerance.

        November 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
      • Scott

        Spot on, Beverly NC. Poll after poll of Republican voters shows that the majority of them do not believe in scientifically established facts including evolution and global warming. Their candidates for the presidency reflect this ignorance/bias. They pollute our school boards with religious fundamentalists who want to substitute the bible for science in the classroom. The first step in reclaiming American preeminence in science (and just about everything else) is to elect non-Republicans who will base policy on FACTS.

        November 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
      • IceMan

        To pna and the other defenders of Republican policy: Beverly may have been extreme in her criticism but none of you can deny that there is a serious image problem. Rather than lashing out at Beverly, your energy would probably be better spent trying to reform your party (good luck with that, by the way). The irrational, anti-science faction has far too much influence and is badly compromising discovery and innovation, two things that have made this nation great and that we cannot survive without.

        November 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • IdahoTom

        Beverly NC,

        What's sad is that we have people in this room, when talking about science and technology, still brings up politics and finger pointing blaming games and try to use science and technology to for their political ideology 😦 We do not need any of that right now, and we definitely do not need any of that right here. Maybe perhaps in a blog where the topic is specifically aimed at say, the presidential race, yes, go for it, that's where we should be talking about politics and who's better etc etc although I'm not too in to it. But again, not here.

        November 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
      • Shad

        Two Thumbs up on Beverly NC's comment.......Thanks for some real insight into what is going on....:-)

        November 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
      • jim

        William, you are stupid beyond belief!!! No child left behind act a positive impact on our children? Only if your children are returds trying to learn to count to ten. Get your head out of your @s$!!!

        November 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
      • claire

        very much agree with Tom's comment. to add a couple of more thoughts. breakthroughs in science and technology do not come easily. and when they do come, they come at a cost of years even decades of meticulous research. most for-profit cooperates have a conflict of interest to investing in long-term fundamental research. And this is the reason why you don't usually see major scientific breakthroughs to come out of private companies. I'm for a government that will not sideline our country's education and fundamental research efforts. If it were to leave everything up to the Wall Street, I'm afraid that we won't hold up to the race against other countries in the long run.

        November 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
      • Jim

        You all suck! So much negative energy

        November 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
      • C.

        It is very cool to see how this program is developing thanks to Bush who started and promoted the project, but Obama gets all the credit?

        November 27, 2011 at 1:37 am |
      • Me

        Actually Beverly, the Obama administration has been trying to cut NASA's budget this year.

        http://www.space.com/10845-nasa-2012-budget-announcement-obama.html

        Get you facts straight before you go off on a rant that is not supported by reality. I won't include my political slant here whether I agree with yours or not as it is not relavent to this article. Pick a polotical blog site for that stuff and don't clog up this page.

        November 27, 2011 at 3:09 am |
      • Lookout

        Albemarle NC

        I just had to copy and paste. This is 100% Correct. I am 61 years old and have never meet a Republican that has a clue
        or cares about science!

        Isn't it wonderful to still see small acts of real science, innovation, and intelligence in our nation? Republicans do not believe in science, have destroyed our educaton system, closed schools, laid off teachers, made college all but impossible and our own corporations say they cannot find enough education engineers and technology-trained people for the jobs they do have. NASA is still pursing science, still pushing for new froniters in knowledge, still keep America first in exploration and innovation. Let's hope we wake up and rid the Congress of ALL Republicans in 2012 so we can go back and refund education, hire back quality teachers, teach our children the importance of education and knowledge, refund educational programs like PBS, the Arts, promote reading, and other college paths for students.
        Our BIGGEST national security issue is EDUCATION. Republicans are too stupid to realize this for they care nothing about it. We need to have the smartest, best-trained, highest level scientists, researchers, and tecnology dreamers to keep America number one in the world. Thank God NASA has still surivived Republican ignorance. Let's stand up for the best education and science training in the world by getting rid of ALL Republicans in every state and national seat. Let's move America FORWARD and not backwards where Republians live and think. ALL Democats in 2012 for refunding critical educational programs for our children and our future.

        November 27, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Tony

      Not domestic turkeys. Wild turkeys.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:15 am |
      • Happy-Holidays

        Yeh! I am all in for that Wild Turkey!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • illuminati

      You are sheeple. Human sheep who believe anything, being led to slaughter. The media and government have been lying to you since you were born. Whenever the Government lies they make it nice and pretty and tell you it's about this or that. The only way you'll find real news is to look outside.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
      • edr

        Exactly. Everything is a lie. But why all of this is happening?

        November 26, 2011 at 11:22 am |
      • What

        Schizophrenic much?

        November 26, 2011 at 11:30 am |
      • David

        illuminati I have to agree with you. Ever heard the saying "mad as a wet hen"? Well the fact is hens couldn't care less about getting wet. So there's one good example for you.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • CB21029

        You forgot to take the pink pills this morning.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:40 am |
      • paidogovernmentdisinformationagent

        illuminati I think the site you are looking for is abovetopsecret.com I know this because my NWO masters pay me handsomely to keep tabs on important people like yourself.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:59 am |
      • Darwin

        By declaring everything a lie, one isn't required to learn anything. That's why conspiracy theorists are so stupid and gullible. Anyone who uses the term 'sheeple' is truly daft.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
      • SAMM

        lol, "everything is a lie" contradicts itself, because that makes the statement itself a lie. That means the inverse is true, "NOT everything is a lie."

        Basic logic fail.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
      • The Government

        So you're on to us. Luckily, we traced your I.P. and have mind-wiped everyone who read your post. The cleanup team will arrive shortly, do not upset the balance of power.

        December 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      Didn't you ever watch WKRP?

      November 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
      • Aizko

        I recall that episode – the one with the Turkey drop. Ah, television.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • joseph ryder

      Mankind will never survive long enough to go to mars, Question: where are they going to get the oxygen up there along with the IF, Question two: where are the farmers that grow crops in weather that only martians can survive. Question three: Don't fool ourselves if possible tell me the ones that would make the trip, selective people who in there opinion deserve to be there away from the Ordinary People. Its just not possible to go there and step into WHAT?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • dan

        Answer to these Questions in lehmans terms. We have plenty of Mexicans

        November 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • MarshallM

        Joseph, the oxygen is already there in the form of water. We just have to learn how to capture the water before it sublimates and then extract it from the water. Certainly, sealed habitats will be necessary, but it is mankind's destiny to move out into the solar system and, eventually, to the stars.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
      • scienceperson

        "Move to the stars" don't be silly, considering the temperature of the average plasma that makes up stars ranges from 10^2 to 10^7 Kelvin....I have an idea...lets capture the energy from our own star or the core of the earth and eliminate this need for fossil fuel that is destroying the earth both politically and physically.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • Todd Sumner

        Just about everything about your statement makes it very clear that you got very little out of your basic education. Please don't bother commenting unless you want to truly want to expose your level of understanding.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • pirate

        scienceperson: Don't you grasp the idea of a metaphor? Escape to the stars means go out amongst the stars and away from our star we call the sun.. Not physically on those stars!!

        November 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
      • Ramon F. Herrera

        Genetic engineering will produce people capable of space travel and living in harsh (for us) environments.

        November 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • name

        Reach for the stars? Don't be silly, you'd burn your hands clean off.

        November 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • JustThinkAboutIt

        Joseph, the people in the time of Columbus and before thought that crossing the ocean was impossible. They thought they would fall off the edge of the world. Time will tell, but I doubt that going to Mars and living there is impossible. It all depends on how urgently we want to do it. Mankind will eventually find a wy if not now then in the future.

        November 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • barackobama

        If we want to expedite the arrival of humans on Mars we're going about it all wrong. Build a Walmart there and advertise 55" HDTVs for $200 and see how fast people arrive.

        November 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Tim

      Hip hip hooray!

      November 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Larry

      I've always been a big supporter of space exploration, and I've attended several space shuttle launches when I lived in FL, but I think that given the current state of the economy in the US, and the economic malaise in Europe that is certain to have even more negative effects on the US's financial problems, this is not the smartest time to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to explore the possibility of life, past or present on Mars. We have an unemployment rate that is extremely high, many American families are struggling to pay for basic necessities, the stock market is plummeting, all these things are more important in my view at least than putting a rover on Mars. We need to address the concerns and needs of our population before concerning ourselves with Mars. The red planet will wait, hungry, homeless Americans can't.

      November 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
      • Chris, Austin

        If we could afford to invade Iraq. If we could afford to invade and build Afghanistan. If we can afford to give congresspeople lifetime paychecks and free healthcare. If we can afford massive subsidies to oil companies. If we can afford bases in over 150 countries. If we can afford to give huge Medicare subsidies to the drug companies to avoid negotiating prescription prices down to a reasonable level in this country. If we can afford tax subsidies to massive corporate churches with incomes in the billions.

        We can send a robot to Mars.

        Looked at from the point of view of the long-term advancement of the species, this is actually one of the few productive things America is doing with its wealth.

        I realize you've been trained your whole life to think that knowledge is for weak, snooty people, and that the fact that there is hunger means we can't afford anything but checks to billionaires, but try to pull your snout out of the trough for a moment and look around you. If you're so concerned about hunger, go do something about it. Vote for leaders that pay for food before CEO bonuses, start the "feed people first" political party, round up some like-minded people, and change the world.

        You don't get to kill the pursuit of human knowledge because leaders are incompetent and corrupt, or because you have no imagination or understanding of how this country spends.

        November 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
      • sam

        yeah! so let's get rid of nasa and take those hundreds of millions of dollars, divide it up among all americans so they get a buck or two, and then the economy will be fixed.

        November 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
      • dpeters11

        If we were to take the entire budget of NASA and put it to social programs, funding would increase about 1%. There is just no way that would make any difference. The Defense Department spends more on Air Conditioning than the entire NASA budget per year.

        November 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
      • Steve409

        You do realize that having projects like this actually creates jobs, don't you?

        November 27, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • fred miller

      Maybe NOW we can go to the moon?? Obama in prison 2012

      November 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • junius gallio

        Oh, get off the hyperbole. I most certainly do not agree with everything he's done, but Obama is not a criminal.

        November 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • nick

      waste of tax dollars

      November 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
      • Adam

        How is this a waste of tax dollars? You do realize that various studies have shown that every dollar invested in space exploration is returned 10 – 20 times over (depending on the study)? That's possibly the best investment this country can make! NASA employs people from high school on up to multiple doctorates in high tech jobs that pay well. Tens of thousands of people across the country, in nearly ever state. NASA does more for our economy than any other agency. They support math and science and education which paves the way to the future of this country. NASA reaches out to kids of all ages to excite them and open their minds to the wonders out there and inspire them to explore their world. No other agency of government and no other public or private sector entity can match the value to our society that NASA has. Period. You simply will not find a better investment for our tax dollars.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • pirate

        Great points. NASA reaches out to educators all the time. My own mother (a teacher) was involved in a summer program with NASA two decades back...

        November 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • deeb lteif

      beverly you are awesome!!!!! withidiots like you who need mental institutions.... you are roaming this great land with no therapy .... republicans, do not have have mothers , grandmothers, wives, children, duaghters, kids, that go to school and do not hold education degrees only the obama crowd does..... we are hoping that this expidetion finds life on Mars so that we can ship you and your kind up there and get off our planet

      November 27, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  92. Necrofun

    Microorganisms will be really impressed with our advanced technology.

    November 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • peter

      What a colossal waste of time, MONEY and energy. After this, then what? Who cares if Mars HAD or can support life? Wht would we need to go there? Politicrap! That's all it is

      November 26, 2011 at 7:26 am |
      • Chan

        ...because it can be terraformed..

        November 26, 2011 at 8:03 am |
      • albert

        I am just waiting for the whopper lies the Science Gods will tell just to keep the money coming in.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:21 am |
      • Dan, Tx

        I don't think it is a waste of money. If we both sat down and prioritized where our tax dollars should be spent we'd have a number of disagreements. So, who gets to decide? Our representatives. Our representatives decided this mission was worthwhile. Thus, after much deliberation, America decided it was worth asking for tax dollars to fund this. You were outvoted by the majority of Americans.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:22 am |
      • Gracko

        Right, Peter. That money would be much better spent to build another megachurch, eh?

        November 26, 2011 at 8:24 am |
      • Oland

        Pooga say wheel useless. Pooga ride mastodon instead. Pooga say fire useless. Pooga eat mastodon raw. Pooga say computer useless. Pooga eat keyboard. Pooga say NASA useless. Pooga say Earth center of all. Pooga no look up no more. Sun burn eyes. Blaaargh! Blaargh!

        November 26, 2011 at 8:28 am |
      • Mike

        It's a military "thing". The ancient principle of war "maintain the high ground".

        November 26, 2011 at 8:35 am |
      • emaho

        Boys and their toys! Why can't these latter-day Tom Swifts just say: "Solar system? Yeah. It's out there." And then forget it about it and turn their attention Earthward, where are much more urgent problems to investigate and solve. Talk about having one's priorities in order.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:41 am |
      • Mark in Phx

        Thanks Oland! Pooga is my hero! But how did he get around after he ate the mastadon?

        November 26, 2011 at 9:33 am |
      • Robert

        Absolutely correct Peter. We need to shut down science like this. Waste of money. Shut it down and lay off the thousands or so working for NASA and all the subcontractors and put them on the dole. We can use the money spent learning about our little solar system to pay these people unemployment. Until it runs out. But then we can just raise the taxes of whoever might still be left working to cover the bill.
        Enough said, going to occupy something for something.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:36 am |
      • Tom

        Peter, I see you only care about profit and making money, not science (which does result eventually in money making).

        You must be a Ferengi!

        "The Ferengi (English pronunciation: /fəˈrɛŋɡi/) are a fictitious extraterrestrial race from the Star Trek universe. They and their culture are characterized by a mercantile obsession with profit and trade and their constant efforts to swindle people into bad deals"

        November 26, 2011 at 9:37 am |
      • Keerview

        Space and military science has been driving commerce on earth more than anything else in history of man. We need 100 times more the spending on this type of exploration to save ourselves from the results of the actions of those who are more 'down to earth'

        November 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
      • Dan Brian

        For every $1 we've put into NASA, we've received $8 back in revenue on patents and such. It's hard to argue an investment like that.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:20 am |
      • really

        @Tom.... you are right, but you forgot we have an equivalent of the Ferengi here..... it's called a republican!!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:24 am |
      • really

        ....of course, the Ferengi are not quite as ugly......

        November 26, 2011 at 10:25 am |
      • Daniel

        How can exploration, discovery, and knowledge be a waste of time or money? Advancement is almost always a good thing. Your anti-science attitude is both disturbing and disappointing. The quest for knowledge is one of humanity's greatest traits. A desire for ignorance is rarely beneficial.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:29 am |
      • Al

        NASA gets so little money compared to the billions we pour into killing people in other countries. But I guess you think that all that death and killing is a better way to spend the dollars. Me, I'd far rather spend my money on Mars probes.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
      • Factors

        I agree, Peter. Just heard yesterday, that 1 in 7 Amerricans are now on food stamps. Ridiculous priorities – all to determine if there's a chance for life on a rock somewhere. Stupid!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • dextermorganreturns

        Tell us Peter, what political party gains anything from a trip to Mars? None. You're too fucking stupid to even understand why we would need to go there in the first place.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:48 am |
      • OMAC

        The technology invented for the space program has a trickle-down effect. It has given us more than 'foam mattresses'. Maybe you should do a little research before proselytizing against it. And let's not forget the hundreds of thousands of jobs it has created since it began.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
      • Evskie

        If the greatest discovery of the human race does not make you care then hopefully the science to accomplish the task should. The computer your typing out your complaint on to the phone you use to MRI and other medical tools were all due to science. A breakthrough in particle physics could possibly spread into other fields of science leading to more breakthroughs. Most importantly we are over populating and poluting our planet so fast were going to need additional resources eventually, it would be stupid to ignore a whole solar system of resources. If we wait until we have to have the technology to survive it will be too late.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:57 am |
      • Dan

        Not very bright are you Peter?

        November 26, 2011 at 11:13 am |
      • peacesupremist

        Do you really think that this is about finding signs of past life on Mars? We already had two rovers tour, and prod Mar’s soil for several years and what did they discover? Trace evidence of water. “Curiosity” is principally a two billion $$ jobs package to keep scientists and engineers gainfully employed. I can deal with that - the government already sponsors and subsidizes many other “non-critical” industries. However, let’s put federal scientific capital to work on other solar system targets. Mars is so yesterday’s news.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
      • Guest

        I t dosn't matter what percentage of the US economy it really costs for these missions, reality is that they do cost a lot of money, trillions of dollars, and last time I looked, we were using that dollar amount to describe how much we were in the hole. We need to fix things that are wrong on EARTH, such as lack of jobs,(how's about a super committee to create JOBS?), lousy education for our kids, etc. If it didn't cost so much money, I'd be all for it, but it does, and we don't have any money to throw around on missions like this that cost so much money, it's just comon sense. As far as counting on our representatives to OK it, they seem to have their own agends, so I'm feeling I can't count of them to make the best decisions....

        November 26, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • SteveJ

        Knowledge is priceless. I don't care if there isn't an instant link to some monetary gain for us "sheepies", knowledge itself is worth the cost and effort of missions like these.Sure there are a lot of problems here on earth, but to think that we can't spend some money on exploration and discoveries about our solar system and the universe is like saying we can't walk and chew gum at the same time. If you want to stop wasting money go stop a war. (there's plenty to choose from).

        November 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • plato

        What if there is a giant asteroid headed for earth (as there has been in the past) that could destroy the entire human race but the government has shut down all space research? What if the earth is completely over-populated (as it will be) and there are no more natural resources on earth to support human life? Space research is actually the most important endeavor of the scientific community. If you don't see the obvious and extremely urgent need to explore space then you are extremely shortsighted.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
      • 456why123

        Peter: I agree. It's a waste of money. Money that could put to better use here on earth. Science research has established that there is no life like ours anywhere else in our galaxy. If the purpose for exploration out in space is to set up glass houses, first how will that be done? and second, who would want to live in a glass house? It's insane to think that humans would want to live in a bottle, with a glass ceiling. How about if there is a power shortage, would most people there be subject to dying because of no oxygen available? We have major life issues that we should take care here at home first...

        November 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
      • PraiseTheLard

        Peter: your obvious level of intelligence is simply astounding!

        November 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
      • G Finnigan

        Peter, why don't you grow a brain. Space is the future of humanity. Exploration is instinctively human. So you would roll your eyes at the most amazing and significant scientific discovery of all time? Sounds like you lack vision, imagination, and a brain. Go ahead and vote Republican. Your vote doesn't matter...

        November 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
      • Glen

        Quoting above moron: "Science research has established that there is no life like ours anywhere else in our galaxy."

        What? I just dropped my pretend bible. Science has NOT established that there is no life like ours anywhere else in our galaxy. Science hasn't even fully explored MARS, much less the rest of the Solar System, much less the rest of the GALAXY which is enormous! The purpose of this mission is to further explore the possibilities for life on Mars, after seeing the possibilities for it based upon the experience of all the previous Mars missions, as this rover has more advanced systems and can actually perform it's own tests (hence the name "Mars Science Laboratory"). How do you manage to tie your shoes in the morning with this level of stupidity and ignorance?

        November 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
      • kardiac

        People like this vote. How scary is that? Large groups of people not just uninformed but unable to grasp anything beyond a 30 second sound bit on FOX can sway elections.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
      • nickodemus29

        Agreed Peter – Why did we ever even cross the ocean to find the Americas and then keep going to find out the world was round? The world was flat and we all knew it. We had to go and discover that it really wasn't darn it. Oh yeah then we launched into space and viola! there was no heaven with some bearded WHITE guy hanging in the clouds watching us. Hmmmm....we should just stay here on earth and spend money on religion and wars to kill each other – what idiots we are.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
      • LeppFan

        Think a little harder before you speak.....Without EX-PLOR-ATION and DIS-COV-ERY none of us would be where we are today! If humans just sat around content with what they already had we'd still be living in caves. Who knows, there could be a cure for people like you found up there on Mars. Let's hope!
        Oh, and also.....Got a cell phone? Thank NASA! Got cable TV? Thank NASA! Got GPS? Thank NASA!

        November 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
      • Toby Hawbaker

        You all seem to forget some of the worst atrocities in history have been made in the name of science, discovery, and exploration. Both to people and to the area being explored.
        NASA will never be shut down. A large part of it's funding DOESN'T come from the government, the private sector funds a percentage of all the experiments and missions NASA does.
        Bottom line....Is this expedition nessessary? yes! Is now the correct time to do it? Probably not. Instead of funding this kind of thing I would like to see that money re-invested into the American economy differently that would have a greater impact on the short term, not 20 or 30 years down the road.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • pirate

        Yes but a worse atrocity would be canceling a project like this because the economy is down. It was started a long time before things fell apart.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • EarthPlanet

      If we find that Mars CANNOT in fact sustain life then please can we send all Christian nutjobs over there?

      November 26, 2011 at 9:02 am |
      • AGuest9

        PLEASE????? Along with fundamentalists of all stripes!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • Andrew

        That would be amazing there would actually be world peace, pretty sure literacy rates would skyrocket, most likely leading to the overall decline in poverty and overconsumption of resources, not to mention the decline of std's and pretty much every other bad thing that comes from religious zealots.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • Eric g

        Boy arent you an intolerant one. Just because someone disagrees with your worldview you want to condemn them. Oh and by the way i fully support this mission and hope it has a safe albeit complex landing

        November 26, 2011 at 11:13 am |
      • Ted Bleen

        If it would get me away from all the liberals on earth-I'm ready. 1 Christian nutjob-ready to beam up.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • jeffro

      Exploration is an essential part of the human sole. There is nothing more arrogant than the belief that life exists on earth and nowhere else in universe.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • SixDegrees

        Maybe. The quest for life elsewhere is certainly well worth it, but at the moment there is no guarantee it will succeed, or that there is life elsewhere in the first place. We have a sample size of exactly one, and that isn't sufficient to make any predictions at all from. You can't extrapolate from a single point, and you can't extract statistics from a single datum. I'd have to say it is every bit as arrogant to proclaim that life must exist elsewhere as to insist that it only exists here. The only rational answer to the question is "We don't know".

        November 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
      • ktisis

        I love the funny irony in your statement. You have arroggantly stated that you KNOW what the most arroggant thing is. Wow.

        Anyway, to answer your underlying question...for those who actually study the complexities of life (DNA) there is absolutely no scientific evidence or probable scenario that life does exist outside of Earth. Do a little research about the mathematical probabilities involved in protein formation, chirality, encoding-decoding mechanisms...you will see that this is a vain pursuit. It is illogical to even suggest that there is life outside of life from Earth (mathematically and scientifically speaking). And to argue about non-DNA based life is hyper-speculation with only fantasy in support.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  93. w l jones

    Mars have enough oxygen in the air to keep small desert amphibian animal as well desert animal also hardy plant. No dought in cave it posibly humen find enough oxygen to suvie for shot period of time.

    November 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • G-run

      they should try a lung fish or one of those species that lay dormant when theres no water....even water bears

      November 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • FauxNews

      First off, you might need more oxygen to help your spelling. Second, any amphibian on Earth would explode in the extremely thin atmosphere.

      November 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
      • w l jones

        I doubt an amphilian could explode without oxygen in it body.

        November 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
      • cpc65

        Not true about that last part. You've been watching Total Recall too much. Even in the vacuum of space that doesn't happen. Now if you tried the same thing with a deep sea organism, it might be different.

        November 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
      • johnqpublic

        not explode exactly, but catastrophic decompression. deadly all the same.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Marvin

      Oxygen, Mars? Those two words do not go together.
      Oxygen concentration on mars is 1 part in 27 000 that of earth. Almost too small to be measured, never mind trying to breathe it.

      November 26, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  94. Josh

    Does anyone know if Curiosity will have any chance to "visit" either Opportunity or Spirit ?

    November 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • MarsFan

      No. Curiosity will land more than 1500 miles from Spirit and more than 5100 miles from Opportunity. Curiosity takes *at least* a couple of days to travel a single mile.

      November 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
      • tif31

        At 600 feet per day, it will take curiosity closer to nine days to travel one mile. Didn't read the article, huh ?

        November 26, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  95. Joe

    I guess I'm a dreamer! why we always focusing on Mars? Isn't there other planets we can be spending Millions on for research? How about those galaxies out there! Build a telescope that we can send light years away; and I bet we find life! Or is that the fear we dare not contemplate. We've seen what our Sun reflects; wouldn't it be amazing to go beyond and see what it looks back this way? There I go again- dreaming. Maybe not in my lifetime, it's going to be exciting though for generations to come. Just wait and see!

    November 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • G-run

      nothing wrong with that JOE...ill say this, our government works in mysterious ways, if they did find life you think they'd tell us quick, whose to say that they found something but arent saying anything about it, trust me they're like that, im willing to bet something was found but is put on the classifed side...even an energy source, they arent gonna share with the world..think about it...what im trying to say is that i would be suprised if something was found but put a lid on. As for dreaming you never know man we may see something in our life times im hoping for it too

      November 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • nmrguy

      Your dreams are actually a reality already. The Hubble Space Telescope is looking back to origins of the Universe, the James Webb Telescope will do much better. Looking as far as you would like requires detecting light; going to places to look for life means Mars is a great target and not an easy one. I will be crossing fingers and worrying intensely as this next Mars mission flys, getting to Mars safely is not easy. Mars is, for humans, really far away. But it is cool that thanks to NASA we currently have active missions around Vesta and Ceres, a mission at Mercury, an active mission around Saturn with Titan, and missions in flight out to Jupiter. Meanwhile, old space craft are still flying around and being used to explore other bodies, e.g., the Stardust space craft after successfully retrieving samples of a comet and dropping these off to Earth after a 3 billion mile journey, just went off to look at Comet Temple 1 to see what we had done to this object with our "deep impact" mission. Really, NASA is flying stuff all over our Solar System-Now, at comparably minimal dollars. In spite of a lack of vision government, American Frontier-ism is flourishing. Lets do more. Most Americans do not appreciate how amazing our engineers are- all other nations are followers. We still lead. Sorry to sound so flag waving, but I am very proud of this nation!

      November 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Hugo

      And there's the SETI project.

      November 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • justmeanddog

      Some of the really big discoveries are coming from Einstein’s Telescope. Now there is a Telescope.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      "Build a telescope that we can send light years away"

      The trip would take thousands of years and we will not be able to detect the faint signals. An antenna bigger than Earth will be required. I am convinced that there is intelligent life out there but there is no way we can contact them or they contact us.

      You need to read less science fiction and more science.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  96. mendrys

    Lets see...for about .5 percent to a max of about 4 percent of the federal budget during the Apoll era there have been hundreds of thousands of new jobs created. Hundreds of billions in economic benefits created. Novel products that we use every day. Increased understanding of Earth and its climate. Leadership in the semiconductor and aerospace industry and other benefits too numerous to list here. Besides all that what has NASA done for us?

    November 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • tct

      Inspired dreams, given a sense of common cause (sometimes worldwide), increased scientific and technical education and provided a public/private partnership model for commercialization of new products that works. Like infrastructure it's cut first because appearance matters more to politicians than the well being of our country.

      November 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  97. Matt Player

    To those of you asking what's the point of expending funds on something like this, I will try to explain. How about a chance at making the most profound discovery in the history of the human race, finding life on another world? How about witnessing the crowning achievement of human knowledge? How about shedding some light on our own origins and place within the universe by discovering that life naturally arises when conditions are correct? Surely this knowledge is worth the price tag of the amount Coca Cola spends annually on marketing its product to the masses. The point is knowledge. The point is gaining perspective. The point is providing inspiration. The point is satiating curiosity about the biggest questions we can ask. The point is using our minds for something greater than satisfying the trivial aspects of our day-to-day routine. And the point is accomplishing this as soon as it is technically feasible because our existence is limited in time. If these answers do not satisfy you, I respectfully ask that you resign from the human race, and relegate yourself to our prior Pleistocene cave-dwelling existence.

    November 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • BDSpencer

      Well put Matt.

      November 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • nmrguy

      Yes! Very well said.

      November 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Matt Player

      Thank you! 🙂

      November 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • paerki

      Your comments are much appreciated. Thank you. 🙂

      November 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Cheech Wizard

      Well put....except maybe the last sentence...going negative doesn't improve your otherwise excellent argument.

      November 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Matt Player

      Well, the last part was supposed to be sarcastic/humorous, but thank you though!

      November 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • whynenot

      well written. try explaining this to a hungry child however, or a battered woman. Perhaps a homeless veteran, or a lonely widow. we can afford all of these costs, so i say take care of our own species first.

      November 26, 2011 at 7:51 am |
      • Torn

        Should we strive for the quest for knowledge, or the survival of an exclusive race on Earth? That is a good question. Ultimately it's the infamous Catch 22. If we save all of those among us who suffer and die every day, as sad as that is, we will overpopulate and destroy the planet which we live upon. Ultimately, this very notion of not taking care of them may indeed destroy the human race as well. In the end that quest for knowledge, no matter how frivolous it may seem might just save us as a whole.

        November 26, 2011 at 8:25 am |
      • Notehead

        Reasonable questions. Any moral, caring person would want to save a suffering individual. But we have to tackle Earth's problems at every level from the micro to the super-macro. Those complaining about the expense don't seem to have much understanding of how this sort of science (or science in general) benefits us. It's not a bunch of ego-driven nerds solving for "x"; as others have pointed out, the space program's tangible benefits to humanity are massive.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • really

        This project was planned and developed years ago. The money was spent already way before this launch. The contractors surely wanted their money up front to build the probe. This money most likely came from a 2008 budget, or before....so get off the money part!

        November 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
      • Daniel

        Why not do BOTH? Why is it an either/or debate? Why not take care of the ones who need help, and also explore for the benefit of all?

        November 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
      • Matt Player

        I admit that the emotional nature of the individual situations you describe gives pause for thought. But consider this. The estimated total economic output of the human race is $2,396,950,000,000,000. That is 2.4 quadrillion dollars. Virtually all of that has been spent on Earthly endeavors. I think we can spare a nominal amount on space exploration, a destination that is inevitably our future at some point. Telling this to someone that is experiencing pain and torment probably won't mean much, because they are necessarily focused on their situation. A small amount of resources should still be directed towards long-term planning, nonetheless.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • FrankR

      Unless we find a way to travel at much greater speeds and go to other star systems all of this is just a waste of money to find out whether life on Mars ever existed or not.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • Matt Player

        First, we need to motivate the population of the world to invest much more heavily in the types of technologies you describe. The exploration you advocate is beyond monumental and would literally costs trillions upon trillions of dollars to execute. In order to do this, we have to demonstrate that this type of exploration is worthwhile. Searching for life, past or present, is a good way to inspire people's imagination and get them on board with the whole space exploration endeavor. So, I wouldn't really refer to these comparatively "baby steps" as worthless. Ultimately, it has the potential to make space exploration a permanent and significant part of world culture.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • gman

      You almost assume we will find life – what if we just find a few amino acids? amino acids would prove nothing – hundreds of amino acids in specific linking chains to create a protein – hundreds of proteins to create a cell – now if we find a cell then you have something

      November 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |
      • Matt Player

        In my post I was talking about the potential. I was arguing that the profundity of this potential discovery is well worth the cost.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • FrankR

      You must be a NASA tool.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:03 am |
      • dextermorganreturns

        And you must be an uneducated red neck.

        November 26, 2011 at 11:13 am |
      • TinyKinkyDasaniBottle

        You must be new here.

        November 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • Matt Player

        Nope, just a regular guy with a perspective on reality that encompasses more than just the Earth.

        November 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
      • Daniel

        Are you a Tea Party Tool? Or just anti-science and anti-exploration?

        November 27, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  98. More Power

    As Tim the Toolman would say:

    A one-ton, super-advanced, plutonium-powered, scientific marvel! Ah! Oh! Oh! Oh!

    November 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  99. rick husk

    Here we go again,who cares,we need to worry about this planet ,who cares if there was water,we have a town running out of water,who's helping them,are government will piss of billions of dollars just to see if water was ever on mars,that money could have went to help the homeless,education,unemployment. I hope this thing is a bust, This great country always has to try and out do other country's.the government complains about budget cuts,why not start here,just a waste of money. If this thing fails,everyone of them should be fired. They don't even know if it will work.

    November 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • David

      Luddites and Maroons,

      We need to find a place to go before the neo-Cons and Republicans have let their corporate cronies pollute the planet to the point it is poisonous to our existance.Those why deny pollution, global warming, and who think greed is good and only quarterly returns matter can stay. I'm going to Mars.

      November 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Tony

      HELLO....we don't send the money there!!! We spend the money here on earth...and it pays the salaries of thousands of workers for the companies that are contracted by NASA.

      November 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • really

      Hey, get this through your heads! This project was planned and developed years ago. The money was spent already way before this launch. The contractors surely wanted their money up front to build the probe. This money most likely came from a 2008 budget, or before....so get off the money part!

      November 26, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Scoop

      So you propose we reduce employment by firing everyone that is working on these projects?

      November 26, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • A Thinker

      You do have a point, but there are many things that can be gained from the long term affects of this project. If they find that Mars once supported life then we could Terraform the planet, then we could send the people who think alike to that planet and cut down on the pollution and wars.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |
1 2 3

Contributors

  • Elizabeth Landau
    Writer/Producer
  • Sophia Dengo
    Senior Designer