August 22nd, 2012
04:37 PM ET

Mars rover passes first driving test

The Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first drive, NASA scientists announced Wednesday, proving that it’s capable of moving farther afield on the Red Planet.

“It couldn’t be more important. We built a rover, so unless the rover roves, we really haven’t accomplished anything,” said Curiosity Project Manager Pete Theisinger at Wednesday's news conference. “The fact that we completely exercised it, and everything was on track, is a big moment.”

Curiosity, situated in Gale Crater, drove forward, turned in place 120 degrees, and backed up. The process took about 16 minutes, including photo-taking, Heverly said, but the driving itself was probably about four to five minutes.

Meet a rover driver: His other car is on Mars

Now that the rover has gotten a “learner’s permit” of sorts, its next destination will be Glenelg, which is 400 meters (1,300 feet) east-southeast from its landing site. This area has three types of terrain, including layered bedrock, which scientists are eying as a place for Curiosity to drill.

From there, it will head to Mount Sharp, which was formed from hundreds of rock layers that built up over time. The mountain is about 3 miles high, but the rover will trek up a small portion of it, testing different layers for signs that life could have once existed on Mars. It may take about a year for the rover to reach this target.

What we've done on Mars, and what's next

Curiosity’s wheels have holes in them to leave a unique track on Mars, said Matt Heverly, lead rover driver for Curiosity. They do not appear to be sinking much into the terrain.

“We should have smooth sailing ahead of us,” Heverly said.

After some more equipment-checking, the rover will start out with 10-meter journeys per day on Mars, as engineers make sure that the rover can take pictures and identify hazards on its own. After checking out those abilities, they will push it a little farther, going to 20 to 40 meters (65 to 130 feet) per Martian day. The edge of the horizon that the navigation camera can see is 40 meters, Heverly said.

As the team gains even more confidence in the system, Heverly said, they can command the rover to drive 50 to even 100 meters per Martian day, which is about 40 minutes longer an Earth day.

Despite the complexity of landing a 2,000-pound vehicle on another planet, Curiosity had a perfect landing on August 6, and most of the instruments scientists have tested appear to function. There’s only been one glitch so far: a wind sensor on the rover’s weather station was damaged and the reason might always remain mysterious, scientists say.

Thiesinger said it’s fantastic that there haven’t been any early problems, but there’s “a long way to go” before the $2.6 billion mission reaches its full potential. Curiosity has not yet tested its sample-gathering capabilities, for example.

Curiosity is 16 Martian days into what is planned to be a two-year mission. But the rover could potentially last longer; the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity far exceeded their projected lifetimes of 90 days. Opportunity is still operating.

Also at Wednesday’s media briefing, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists honored science fiction writer Ray Bradbury by naming Curiosity’s landing site Bradbury Landing. Bradbury would be 92 on Wednesday.

Bradbury visited the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2009 on the five-year anniversary of the beginning of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, which encompassed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Rover drivers showed Bradbury how they use a three-dimensional simulation to figure out how to tell the rover where to go.

To the end the news conference, NASA played a 2009 video tribute to Bradbury.

“When he came to the operations room and we showed him the model of the rover and the large scale panoramic pictures that we've taken, the actual photographs of the surface of the planet, it was like watching him experience it as a child almost would experience it, just the wonderment,” NASA engineer Ashley Stroupe, a rover driver for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, said in the video.

“He has never lost that wonder for Mars that he’s always conveyed in his books.”

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. Ezra

    Nice response in return of this difficulty with firm arguments and explaining all about that.

    Ezra

    October 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  2. BIZZNESS

    Hate to break the news but this Rover isn't actually on Mars. Its in the middle of some desert and we have been dooped to think we made it to Mars...LUL

    August 28, 2012 at 5:06 am |
    • Jim

      You mean "duped"...and apparently you were.

      September 8, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  3. $tillRun!n1@ya.com

    "EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY!!!"

    Curiosity "VERSUS!!!" Doctooor Manhattaaaaaan...."BEGIN!!!"

    August 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  4. King of Jugheads

    # 1 – Why can't this thing get color video ?
    # 2 – Why do they keep cutting parts of the pictures out ?
    I'm very doubtful that if they find any significance of alien life or previous life relics, that we will see "any" of it. Yes that's right, I predict that after $2b worth of this project, we will be rewarded with pictures of rocks, rocks and more rocks. Science is no longer about discovery, it's about drama. 911 should have drilled that into some of your heads .

    August 26, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • MOCaseA

      So obviously you aren't looking hard enough. There are plenty of color photographs and videos that Curiosity has captured. Alos, the reason for the picture "cuts" is that it isn't a single picture, but hundreds of smaller high resolution pictures that have been pieced together.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  5. tony

    I LIKE MINECRAFT!

    August 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  6. FireFly

    Gary u have to be joking. U might be arrested.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Ted Nazmith

    Wow. Rick Shultz says some pretty dumb things....

    August 24, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  8. Joy

    Humans need to plant magnetic trees to deflect the deadly solar radiation for Mars colonies.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  9. IWANTTOKNOW

    I heard someone once say, science is the how and God is the why. I think many of us can relate to that

    August 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • MOCaseA

      Relate to it all you want. Science is the method of finding the how AND the why. Not some mythological being invented to stifle the human spirit into utter submission.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  10. Karl

    It sure is remarkable how those solar panels stay so clean on such a dusty planet.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Curiosity isn't solar powered.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  11. Derdicht

    Bradbury would have been 92. Words convey meaning. And he would have been excited by this achievement.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  12. WordOfReason

    I love science and I love God.

    How is this reconcilable?

    God made everything, but God didn't tell us everything. Go Opportunity!

    August 23, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Farscape

      Desperate rationalization to perpetuate ancient superst!tions.

      August 23, 2012 at 9:51 am |
      • The Jackdaw

        Ancient superst!tions are fine as long as they do not lead to hate or closed mindedness.

        August 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • Farscape

        I have to disagree. But I’ll take that lesser evil over what seems to be the norm.

        August 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |
      • The Jackdaw

        Agreed. I am a hardened atheist and find those who pound their religious drums to be slightly more than irritating; however, I also feel that while religion is clearly nothing more than a human invention, it still speaks to something that is inherent about humanity. It is a misty profile of the human experience. It is metaphor, nothing more, but in there is some good advice or at least some occasional helpful perspective. It is fake, but not useless. There is no deity in the sky that will smite you for doing bad things, but the idea behind it is to motivate people to do good things. Unfortunately, because it is a large nebulous metaphor, it can be interpreted to support some very evil things. But this speaks to the people doing the evil things, not what religion was intended to be originally. I hope anyway. Science and logic over fantastic sorcery, always, but I try not to ignore good advice, even if it is shrouded in hokum.

        August 23, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  13. militarymike

    So according to the video, the people who operate the rover only work about 14 minutes a day. I don't think he really explained that correctly.

    August 23, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • YOREALD

      YEP...it doesn;t make sense...

      August 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  14. gary

    Mars landings are a hoax. Nasa can not expect us to believe they can go 300 million miles from earth. Just like Nasa faked the moon landings

    August 23, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Tim

      @Gary – I hope you are joking...

      August 23, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  15. dr ana

    mere foolz paradise i must agree!

    August 23, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  16. Giant Alert code red

    This is not what i paid for.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:41 am |
  17. Not Fat

    That guy has the worst wig on

    August 23, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  18. SpaceCadet

    Jonathan,

    The shuttle program did end while Obama was in office however the decision was made by Bush following the second shuttle accident, Columbia, in 2003. It took until 2011 to complete construction of the space station. Policy makers had decided shuttle was to risky to keep flying after station assembly. So NASA followed orders and shut it down.

    The next human space program to the moon and then Mars was called Constellation. Approved under Bush around 2006 Obama cancelled that in 2010. Obama did funnel $6 billion through NASA to private companies to develop their own launch systems and cargo transport for station.

    The Mars program budget under Obama is $536 million this year. However, the Obama plan will drop the Mars budget to around $175 million by 2016. That's about a 68% budget cut over the next 4 years. That means fewer jobs since all the money pays people for work.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  19. Steve

    Our space program is one of the few things left that gives me a reason to be patriotic. I am proud of this mission. GO USA! GO NASA! GO SPACE EXPLORATION!

    August 23, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I agree! *Fist bump*

      August 23, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Rick Shultz

        I am not out to make an enemy of anyone but for someone who can't abide those of us who "pound our religious drums" you pound your own a great deal. Did it ever occur to you how irritating you might be to those of us who do not believe that God is a myth, but who are NOT ready to jaw endlessly about it to everyone else? Some people have done atrocious things in the name of the God they believe in, but who appointed you to lump all of us together and judge us? What hill were you on when the lightning came and illuminated you? We do not need your dolorous rant in a forum that is not intended for religion to start with.

        August 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • The Jackdaw

        Did you read what I wrote? Clearly not. I thought I was rather open to opposing views and was encouraging others to do the same. It was a plea for science + wisdom, which would make it relevant on a science page. As far as what I was on when struck by lightning, it was a wooden ladder. I was installing my radio antenna so that I could better receive the signal from the 700 Club. You could say that science grounded me.

        August 24, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  20. Keith B Rosenberg

    Is NASA going to send Curiosity her dirvers license soon?

    August 23, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  21. speedo

    BREAKING NEWS: The Mars rover has just beamed back a video of intelligent life on Mars. They have audio of one Martian saying to the other, "Can you bellieve Akin actually said that?"

    Kudos to the good folks at NASA and JPL. Nice to know that somewhere in America we have folks that are continuing the quest for knowledge. Seems to be precious little of that commodity in the air these days.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  22. Jerry

    The American space program, from its earliest days through the present, has lead to thousands of technological advancements that are used everyday by our citizens. These new technologies have increased our national security, safety, lead to medical advancements, increased energy efficiency (which makes for a cleaner environment), saves lives, and increases our overall quality of life. Some of the technological benefits we have seen from the space program are:

    Items used around the average American household

    Better Insulation. Aluminum heat shields from the Apollo program are used in homes to drastically reduce home heating and cooling costs, making homes more energy efficient which leads to lower power consumption.
    Smoke Detectors. These devices are standard in every home now, and were created for the Skylab space station in the early 1970′s.
    Better satellite technology for worldwide communication and television broadcasts.
    Small in home water purification systems were originally invented to purify water on early space missions.
    Cordless power Tools. NASA asked Black and Decker to develop a cordless power tool for use by the Apollo astronauts to collect deeper core samples on the moon. This invention lead to the wide range of cordless power tools in use today, including the first dust busters.

    Items leading to a cleaner environment

    Satellite mapping used for forest management and weather.
    Hydroponic systems for the growing of food sources.
    Pollution measuring/smokestack monitor devices used in factories.
    Advances in solar energy technology.

    Items used by the medical field

    Advancements in laser technology, now adapted to conduct laser heart and eye surgeries.
    Better technologies used for conducting mammograms.
    A spin-off from the Hubble Space Telescope has lead to a less intrusive and more method for conducting breast biopsies through digital imaging.
    NASA developed technologies were adapted for use in CAT scan and MRI machines.
    Infrared Thermometers. NASA technology used for measuring the heat of stars and distant planets was adapted for use in infrared thermometers common in every home and hospital today.

    Advancements to aid in Firefighting and public safety

    Lighter weight Respiration systems developed for Apollo astronauts were adapted for use in fire fighting.
    Rescue jaws used by firefighters to quickly cut through doors and roofs in order to get to trapped accident victims inside.
    Newer light weight and portable radiation detectors.
    Personal alarm systems used by firemen, prison guards, the elderly, etc.
    Self righting life rafts.
    Doppler radar used for storm warning and tracking, to include wind shear detection used at major airports in the U.S.

    The above list in not all inclusive; it is only a fraction of the items which were developed as a result of the U.S. space program. The total number of technological achievements gleaned from NASA space programs numbers in the thousands. Future missions planned for the moon and Mars will only aid in pushing technology further and serve as a catalyst for the next generation of technological advances that future generations will undoubtedly take for granted.

    Check out the following sources for more information on this topic:

    http://www.nasa.gov/missions/science/f_apollo_11_spinoff.html
    http://www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html
    http://www.lunarproperties.com/page/28
    http://techtran.msfc.nasa.gov/at_home.html
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2005-10-04-questions-answers-griffin_x.htm

    __________

    August 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • n2video

      Excellent post, Jerry. I've been trying to "teach" the uninformed here on this board and others of the benefits of the space program, but in more general terms. Your list is very, very good. Thanks for posting.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • John/c

      I'll add that even IF we didn't get any of those earthly benefits I appreciate that for the cost of a modest night out I can vicariously explore another planet get some great clues as to the history of our solar system. As a human I'm gifted with curiosity and a desire to explore, it would be a waste of who I am to not invest the cost of a night out to fulfill that. And if I still want more money for good causes I can skip another night out and give that to the cause.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Steve

      Well done! I still cannot believe their are people who even try to say NASA is a waste.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Joy

      SUPER JERRY ...

      August 23, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Andrew

      absolutely correct! great post! anyone who believes the space program is a "waste of time and resources" needs to read this

      August 23, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • god

      Lets not forget Velcro.... great post by the way

      August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • JC

      Jerry thank you for the education. I agree wholeheartedly. In fact what Space Exploration has given us in terms of advancement is infinitesimal when measured against what is still to come, not even to mention the physical riches that are just lying out there or drifting through our solar system. And here we are still debating wether space is important enough for us to expend effort on. It is just uncanny!

      One thing though, I think the people you are trying to help understand the returns from all those billions of dollars spent throughout the decades (as opposed to the trillions spent on military upkeep.) will not have the attention span or the curiosity to read it. So in many ways you are preaching to the choir.
      :)

      August 23, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Dude

      You are totally right in what you are saying. Yet, you are missing another big part of the effect of NASA and space exploration. I am referring to myself and tens of thousands of others.

      I do not work with NASA. My work has little or nothing to do with the technologies you listed above.

      However, I do work with very advanced technology and make it available to a lot of people.

      The reason I am not working in real estate or auto repair is NASA. When I was very young I saw some helicopters hovering over water. I asked my dad "what is that?" he said "that's Gemini". My reply was "I like Gemini". And I was hooked. By the time I was seven I was explaining Apollo missions to adults. I have studied and worked in many areas of science, technology and engineering most of my life.

      If you use the technology I work on, you might never think "Good thing for NASA or this might not be working". But, the truth is, many if not most, of the people in high tech today were inspired by NASA.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  23. theMan

    Everyone see the Alien crafts watching the Rover?

    August 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • n2video

      No

      August 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • arthur uzo

      stop making up stories

      August 23, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  24. Andy

    $2.6 billion would have funded a few days of Social Security, less than 2 days of our military, and a few hours of IRS tax collection.

    All that will fade away into history..."did you see that massive $2.6 billion spike in tax collection last Wednesday? Wow, most I've seen since all summer". FB lost $2.6 billion in market cap in 1 hour!

    What Curiosity will give us is for the ages. The first REAL scientific mission on another planet, and perhaps the catalyst of the manned mission to Mars.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Ferrum Equus

      @ Andy, I could not agree more. If humanity would stop all wars and feed that hungry and stop feeding the greedy, we would have the money to build a a space station on the moon and mars already. It is science not war and greed that propels humanity to move forward in our evolution.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      A minor correction: all of the previous Mars missions have carried scientific payloads and have done very important scientific work. Each has been increasingly sophisticated, and Curiosity certainly has a wide range of laboratories aboard. But it is not unique or the first craft to do so by any mean. It is built largely based on knowledge obtained by its predecessors.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  25. Lejaune

    I know what the dirt looks like. It looks like melted rocks caused by high temperature of nuclear explosion.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  26. joe

    It's astonishing that our science is so advanced that we can land a vehicle on another planet and drive it around. It's even more astonishing that we can do this in spite of the fact that one of our political parties doesn't believe in science or science education.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  27. Nova

    14 minutes! That cant be right ...more like 14 hours!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • n2video

      No, 14 minutes is correct. That is the time delay between Mars and Earth. If you had paid attention in Science class when you were in school, you would know this. The long delays in CNN publishing results of the Curiosity mission is because NASA scientists first want to be sure that everything is working right on Curiosity before sending it on its way. You seem highly impatient, Nova. It's a very good thing that NASA scientists are not as impatient as yourself. How much are you going to complain when Curiosity takes the better part of a YEAR to reach the base of Mount Sharp before it starts its historic climb up the mountain? Have patience...the rewards we will reap from this mission will be astounding.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • Andrew

        time delay between Earth and Mars, for signals traveling (near) the speed of light, is between 10 and 20min, depending on the relative position of the planets, 14min is the total time it took the rover to complete its maneuvers

        August 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • Rick Shultz

        Good post and good try n2. But it wouldn't matter to some people if you could speed up light. There is no known effective treatment for instant gratification syndrome.

        August 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  28. Big Ugly Duck

    What an amazing time to be alive! The universe is surrendering more of it's mysteries every day. You go, NASA!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  29. Dan

    The U.S. might have stupid politicians but we still rock at science.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  30. Doh

    “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics, whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” -Pres. John F. Kennedy

    August 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • MathRocks

      "The significant problems we have in this world cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them" – Albert Einstein

      August 23, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  31. Green1955

    LOL!!! Obama has racked up 14 trillion dollars and debt and yet spends billions of tax payer dollars on toys the go to other planets. This is an outrage!!! What the hell good is sending a stupid robot to Mars do to create jobs. The whole space program is an insult to religious freedom and is insulting to me when comments are made about finding signs of life beyond the earth. LOL!!!! guess what knuckle head you will never find any...for a mere 7.50 you could find that answer is a book called the bible instead of spending billions of dollars we dont' have. Shut this garbage down!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Doh

      NT Repub, but the Curiosity project began under Bush so you can thank him. And since you religious nuts insist on having "faith," prove that the other religions aren't real and yours is. In the meantime, I'll have "faith" that life can exist out there. Just because you desperately want to believe something (i.e. a religion) doesn't guarantee that it's real.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Shane

      This project started pre President Obama. The cost isn't that high compared to the number of years its been developed (20 bucks a year per person I think was the figure) and it kept hundreds of people in jobs.

      And really, an insult to religion? In what part of the Bible did it state that life was found only on Earth?

      August 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • THX1953

      Dolt

      Obama CUT the NASA budget.

      To put you rant in perspective, we spend more each MONTH in the Middle East than this entire project was budgeted over Six Years.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Joe

      Hi Green1955, I just wonder how many years ago you would say the earth was formed?

      August 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Nohomers

      You sir, are a fool. If you weren't just a blind naysayer to any technological development, or use of money to explore, analyze, produce innovation, inspire future generations to reach their dreams, that the stars are not the limit, you may have something halfway intelligent to say. Despite what your book may say, humans have always had the urge/need to explore what lies beyond. Think about how humankind would be today without that. Pushing limits. We would not have come this far. Oh, and I challenge you to do even a LITTLE research on the national budget before spouting your Fox News hatred at all things scientific.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • Doh

        Yeah, a cursory Google search would've showed how wrong he is, but Fox News obviously knows its lazy viewers will staunchly believe their false statements and decline to independently verify if they're lying.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • jonathan

      lol... so all the answers come out of one little book called the Bible. Leave the important research and discoveries to the Scientific community and whomever else is interested. You just keep living your simple life and beg for forgiveness, holding that little book, when you make a mistake. So narrow minded, have a good life.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Gadflie

      So, exactly where do you think this money was spent? Here's a hint, it went straight into our economy and was a tremendous boost. But, I'm sure your knowledge of economics is probably less even than your knowledge of science.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • jonathan

      Seriously dude? Obama retired the Space Shuttle program, and then was able to pump more money into other space programs such as this Mars mission. I guess you seem to "know" whats going on...lol, Go read the gossip on Celebrities or something else, this is way over your head and you know nothing about it.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • TomislavB

      Talibans like you are exactly the reason this planet and humanity are in a state that they are of late.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • god

      obvious troll is obvious

      August 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MOCaseA

      How is sending a rover to Mar's to identify if life could have developed on other planets insulting to "religious freedoms." This does nothing to inhibit your ability to worship whatever you want.

      But please, keep spewing the bilge that your religious leaders are feeding you from their high and mighty positions. It is entertaining to watch people drown in their own self-righteousness.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:16 am |
  32. Daniel

    Cool.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  33. JacktheKling-on

    OMG!!!! NASA has finally discovered what we have been searching for since space exploration began, dirt and rocks. Now we know that dirt and rocks are not only here on earth but on other planets in the solar system. We could of sent this billion dollar robot to Kansas or Iowa to take pictures of our once productive farms pre drought and seen these very same images. Or we could of spent those billions on a emergency plan in case we should run into a drought in the mid west. At least we know one thing for certain now, Mars doesn't have idiotic politicians like us. In that, we are unique.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • JacktheKling-on

      *post drought

      August 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • 1001 Paradises

      "Or we could spend those billions on an emergency plan…on drought…" Typical luddite, who can't see for the plank in your eye. The only statement in your statement is "we are unique." Government's sole purpose (today) is take money from others to expand in size and offer little or nothing in return. NASA is one of few gov't projects that returns 1000+ fold on investments. There is no period in the lifeline of mankind that has not been one of search, exploration, questioning, boundary advancement. Without those traits, we would have ended as a species long ago. Ours is one of technology, in the pursuit of harnessing the very forces of nature itself. Take the plank out, realize the Earth has cycles in time periods lasting thousands/millions of years that has (and will) undergo apocalyptic changes unto itself unassisted by the newcomer mankind. The Earth can take care of itself, mankind is unique and must continually explore the realm we live in or the gifts we embody will wither and be as dust on a drought of the mental landscape he once lived in as a paradise. Earth on the other hand will rejuvenate from any temporary drought and grow lush and green as the real paradise it is. Ours is to explore, step out of our cradle, and search for other paradises within our universe.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Top Scientist (Anthro-Climatology)

      They could have sent it to my house and taken a 2.5 billion dollar picture of my manhood and then sold it on pay-per-view, thus reaping at least a ten-fold profit!

      August 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Andy

      $2.6 billion would have funded a few days of Social Security, less than 2 days of our military, and a few hours of IRS tax collection.

      All that will fade away into history..."did you see that massive $2.6 billion spike in tax collection last Wednesday? Wow, most I've seen since all summer". FB lost $2.6 billion in market cap in 1 hour!

      What Curiosity will give us is for the ages. The first REAL scientific mission on another planet, and perhaps the catalyst of the manned mission to Mars.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  34. johne37179

    Will all the votes found on Mars vote absentee in Chicago?

    August 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  35. johne37179

    Have we found any voters on Mars? Will they be voting in person in Chicago or by absentee ballot?

    August 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Doh

      FYI the Curiosity project began under Bush. But I'm sure you hate him for it now.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  36. TellTheTruthMister

    It's a known fact that, barring natural disasters, every species on Earth will overpopulate and destroy it's habitat. Starvation is the usual equalizer. So instead of wondering where the most populous countries in the world will turn when they run out of resources, let's send a space ship to Mars. As long as the Scientists can still eat lobster...

    August 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Doh

      It's a known fact that you fail at conducting independent research, since NASA's agricultural patents (yes, they have thousands of them, look them up) are what spurred the rapid growth of the world's food supply in the last century, which helped stabilize inflating market prices and helped feed countless people around the world.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
      • TellTheTruthMister

        You supporters of this waste seem to be outnumbered in these posts – I wonder why the adamant opposition to common sense. When you're broke... you don't take a sizeable portion of your income (if you earn any) and spend it on looking for life under the Bonneville Salt Flats (although that's a cheap alternative to going to Mars).

        August 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
      • Doh

        Sorry, but I have an MBA and have a very secure salary. But clearly spending any money on the space program was a waste, since that's where our mobile, satellite, and computer technology originated from. But clearly the average American worker and business owner never needed the tech and telecom industries, right? smh

        August 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
      • JohnC

        TellTheTruthMister, Correct you don't spend a sizable portion on things not urgent. But what about the same cost per person going out to a movie or an amusement park just once. We do waste, but more on all the little luxuries great and small from going out to eat now and then to nice cars. All of these are WAY more than what we each spent on this exploration of another planet. I and others learn a lot and as humans just plain enjoy learning and exploring. The fact that we very likely will reap nice rewards over the coming decades is just a bonus to me. And that is why our country in years long before this current financial crisis invested the small amount of money into this program. So skip a meal out and give to a good cause and we can have learning and help others both. If you don't yearn to learn and explore then I feel bad for you.

        August 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
      • John

        TellTheTruthMister, Correct you don't spend a sizable portion on things not urgent. But what about the same cost per person going out to a movie or an amusement park just once. We do waste, but more on all the little luxuries great and small from going out to eat now and then to nice cars. All of these are WAY more than what we each spent on this exploration of another planet. I and others learn a lot and as humans just plain enjoy learning and exploring. The fact that we very likely will reap nice rewards over the coming decades is just a bonus to me. And that is why our country in years long before this current financial crisis invested the small amount of money into this program. So skip a meal out and give to a good cause and we can have learning and help others both. If you don't yearn to learn and explore then I feel bad for you.

        August 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • uysfl

      maybe countries with populations that cant feed themselves should stop having 10 kids each and learn to hunt or farm instead of relying on us to help feed them and then curse us behind our backs.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Top Scientist (Anthro-Climatology)

      It is an even better known fact that 99.9% of all people living on the Earth today (under the age of 35) were fathered by ME! Yep, I got around quite a bit. Most likely, it is a known fact that I am your daddy.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  37. randall

    considering the waste of money, time and resources; this is a good sign of the irresponsible and rediculous persuits of the brightest minds in our country. why solve problems here on earth when you can get a blank check to study dust on mars. WE SUCK!

    August 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Doh

      What's ridiculous is the declining emphasis on education in the country, which is clearly evident in the steep decline in the average national reading, math, and science levels. Our prosperity and future throughout history has been propelled by innovation.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • uysfl

      all the crap money is being wasted on, this is a good one, too bad you dont have the intellect to understand why

      August 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Shane

      I love the people that complain about the space program.

      More useful things have come from the NASA than probably any other government agency. It has the highest ROI, and in fact does keep plenty of people employed.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • hogarth

      Why not do both? It's not as if people stopped solving earthbound problems because we funded a space program. We are wealthy enough to do many things, and space exploration, while one of our least expensive outlays, returns many times that outlay in new products and technologies.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • MathRocks

      randall, ignorance of the world around you is not a virtue. it is not something to be admired. There is no dignity in not caring about the world we live in. If you don't know, fine. That can be fixed. If you don't care...well, then that's something altogether different. Willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  38. Byrd

    Wonder if they'll leave any actual tire-track designs in the Martian plane. If they do, I'd bet anyone a pint that the symbols would be Masonic Those Freemasons do like to leave their calling cards around in the strangest of places.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  39. BetterYouThanMe

    Ask Bill Gates if he would put $2.5Billion of his money into the exploration of Mars – or into something more Earthly beneficial !! I can't wait to see how much better life on Earth will be now that Curiosity has landed.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Dfrat

      Do you have any idea how much of the technology you use every day was either directly, or indirectly developed because of the space program. You cannot just measure the economic impact of these programs in terms of the immediate results. Much of the benefit comes from the commercialized technologies that are spun off in the following years or decades. Everything from medical technolgies to electronics to material science has benefitted from the research and development in the space program. Do you use a GPS? That technology had to come from somewhere. Do you camp or fish, because it's likely that your tent or fishing pole or expedition jacket are made of materials developed for the space program. Everything from the tires on your car, to the TV set in your living room contains elements of technology developed for this program. The long term commercial impact of these and a myriad of other technological advances has generated tens of thousand of jobs, and contributed billions to the US Economy.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  40. k1ypp

    The pattern of holes in the wheels of Curiosity leave a tread mark that is Morse code for JPL:
    . _ _ _ J
    . _ _ . P
    . _ . . L

    August 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  41. SpaceCadet

    Tina and Emiline,

    I have to disagree with your statement there are no results from NASA missions, only pictures.

    I will agree what the public sees are the pictures. If you saw a graph or read a PhD thesis based on results of the x-ray alpha spectrometer would it be more meaninful. The difficulty is highly specialized results are not interesting to a majority of people outside science. Add to that NASA cannot market itself by law. They must educate the public with outreach programs. Kind of hard to motivate the masses that way. Please don't mistake the absence of visible scientific papers to mean there are no results. Those reports are not front page news and they don't fit in 30 second sound bites. They are visible in magazines and websites about space (Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, Nature, Icarus, SpaceNews, SpaceNow, Space.com)

    Now for one example. Mars had water. It appears to have had a major ocean. An covering its northern hemisphere. An ocean needs atmospheric pressure. Today there is no ocean and no atmosphere?

    For people who worry about earths global warming, climate change and melting of glaciers and the polar seas it might helpful if we know how and why Mars lost its air and ocean. That has direct impact on our our civilization in the future.

    Hope that makes sense. There are results. Many many of them. And they will make a difference in our lives on earth as we learn what makes planets work and support life.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • John Vance

      Agreed

      August 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Joe

      Thank you for your response, many just are not understanding of what all this really means

      August 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • jonathan

      Well said!

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  42. U2

    Those who did not like this project should go and hug transformer...

    August 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  43. Sam

    Curiosity is a cadillac

    August 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  44. John Vance

    No tangible evidence of benefit from exploring Mars. Wasting time. Wasting money. Maybe that will be proven to be so, but many results of pure science were not recogonized as valuable when they were intially fleshed out.
    When JJ Thompson discovered the electron, it had no apparent use, but just try to develop the communicaton media necessary to post these comments without it.
    Some of our remote ancestors probably rolled their eyes at the weird-o who was obsessed with conking those two funny rocks together just because they made cool sparks. "What a waste of time, this loser won't amount to anything until he learns to dig up some roots".
    Maybe the money can be spent on something else more "pressing", maybe the time could be spent doing something more "practical", but one thing all those losers have taught us that our time here is limited. No government program, no fnancial stimulus, no tax cut is going to change the fact that in the (very) distant future this planet and every life-form on it is doomed.
    Some of us losers want to believe that the future of our species isn't going to end as fragmented relics to be uncoverered by an imaginably different archaeologist from an inconceivably different place. Some of us losers want that archaeologist to be one of our descendants.
    And this is how you start.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • uysfl

      well said

      August 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  45. Doh

    Sorry, but yours reply just isn't as entertaining.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  46. BetterYouThanMe

    Let's stop exploring dead planets and help our own citizens in need. Let's pay a little more for tomatoes & grapes to give Americans jobs that illegals are now taking. Let's end foreign aid to countries that obviously hate the US and secure our borders. Let's end the wars and mind our own business like the rest of the world does.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      The Curiosity program has provided over 7000 American jobs. All of the money for the program was spent right here on earth, and nearly all of it was spent in America.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • n2video

      WOW!! A true isolatinist in this day and age. Amazing. And you "know" that Mars is a dead planet exactly how? Are you privvy to information that the very best scientific minds in the world don't have? If so, why aren't you working at NASA. You should go there and impart them with your kinowledge. WHY AREN'T YOU WORKIING AT NASA?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • BetterYouThanMe

      n2video and SixDegrees are obviously outspoken NASA employees. Where's the logic in spending $Billions on this fantasy when the Country's TRILLIONS in debt? It's like buying liquor with Food Stamps = enjoy the fantasy before reality strikes.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
      • Caricature

        I look forward to the day when kids say "I want to be a tomato picker" instead of "I want to be an astronaut." It will certainly be a proud day for America.

        August 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Doh

        Might I suggest that if you are hoping to make an effective reduction in the debt, you take a glance at the first 3/4 of the annual budget devoted exclusively to the military?

        August 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Luca

      What jobs are illegals taking? From what I've read, they're taking the jobs that Americans won't. And yes lets stop sending money to countries and let them fend for themselves, that way we won't have any sway on their foreign policy (read, we can't get them to do what we want them to do with the threat of ending aid) and let the weak governments fall under the control of extremists. Bravo for regurgitating ignorant one-line arguments with little thought or substance beyond them.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Doh

      i.e. You believe humanity doesn't need to advance itself. Let's just all live our pointless, mindless lives!

      Me caveman! Me make fire and cook food!
      Me no care anything else!
      Me just eat until me die! Me smart! That guy make raft to explore river is funny! He stoopid! Har har har!

      August 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • randall

      spot on. screw our soverignty and our future, let's send an inferior robot to mars!

      August 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • Doh

        The benefits of NASA's innovations will continue to elude unintelligent people like you, even when it's staring you in the face. Which it is.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • want2believe

      Your ignorance amazes me. Clearly no great advancements in technology have come from our space program.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
      • Joe

        There have been many advances in technology from our space programs, to say otherwise leaves me at a loss for words

        August 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • hogarth

      This isn't an "either/or" situation. We don't have to choose between doing space science and doing earth science. We can do both – and are doing both.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  47. DM

    Killer, Dude!

    August 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  48. DM

    It would be awesome if they gave coordinates so we could find it on Google Mars.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • n2video

      I'm not certain that Google Mars' photographs of the surface are high enough resolution to show Curiosity or any of the rovers or landers that are there. A better source would be the Hi-Rise website at the University of Arizona, which archives all the amazingly hi-resolution photos from the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  49. TellTheTruthMister

    If there is any benefit to mankind from these "explorations", it's that Asian countries will steal the technology and sell it to the world at a fraction of what it cost America to discover & develop it.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • hogarth

      When you have something useful and worthwhile to say, do please get back to us.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  50. Stan

    These little snippets of photos and information from the Rover mission breaks up all the bad news that predominate the news. I love it. It allows me to dream a little in an otherwise hectic day. Keep it coming JPL/NASA!!

    August 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • TellTheTruthMister

      Can't you find happiness for less than $2.5 Billion ?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
      • Doh

        I can! Your comments are quite entertaining.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • JohnC

        well I only paid less than a day at an amusement park. If you want more money going to good causes skip a couple days at an amusement park (or dinner, etc.) and send it in to a good cause. You will have more than made up for the "waste" of this mission.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • D

      Same here Stan...nice to see we're still trying to achieve wonder.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Luca

      Thank you Stan. Seems at least one of us knows how to appreciate life.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  51. U2

    I believe everything have his own meaning.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  52. zeyn2010

    Go Curiosity!

    August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  53. Tina

    I always find it interesting to listen to the moronic boneheads that always claim that this is xx % of national gdp, and there ARE some, if you haven't seen them already, just wait a bit. Yeah, that has little bearing on Anything at all, and should Not be used as a justification for a failed experiment and useless attempt at wasting our money that we've paid into in the form of Taxes, that is a null-and-void assertion that borderlines on the Absurdity.

    Second, as Everyone knows, absolutely nothing is being gotten from these Mars missions, in terms of Information collected, because there isn't any. People who like to be led around by their noses fail to realize what Nasa has been telling us all along...that absolutely no scientific information or research whatsoever is being gleaned from these experiments. The SOLE FUNCTION of these particular missions is to waste our Taxpayer money-what we go to work for every day-on totally frivolous, useless pictures that mean nothing, and do absolutely NOTHING to impact our day-to-day lives. Go even ask Nasa, and they will tell you themselves! There is NO scientific experiments or research done WHATSOEVER!! It is a 3,000,000,000 BILLION Dollar picture-taking experiment with absolutely nothing accomplished or gained!!! Still, no matter how many times you tell people, the chicken-headed lamebrains will keep blindly repeating that there was this-or-that scientific experimental research done back in 197X, which ultimately lead to red neon glow-in-the-dark dental floss, or something of the sort. But, I've got news for you, 1.) This is not 197X. and 2.) These NAsa projects are producing nothing but pictures...pictures...Are you hearing me? No scientific research is being done. It is only pictures. Please repeat this information to the Ignorant, every time you hear them use the weak excuse of X% of GDP or the even more laughable and assinine excuse of "oh, they MIGHT be doing research" which They're Not...and, "oh there MIGHT be something which we will benefit" which we will not.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Fred

      You are absolutely correct!! I'm glad that someone has the brains to finally put the pieced together. These nasa missions are truly producing nothing

      August 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
      • DanBun

        Which mission are you referring to? That way, we might direct you to the site that will present the scientific knowledge we've gained from that particular mission.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
      • Aaron Howse

        Does that include all of the scientific and medical findings that have resulted from NASA research that you benefit from but are too ignorant and uninformed to know about much less understand? I imagine it does. The next time you throw a couple over the counter pills down your throat or ask the doctor to save your mother's life regardless of what it takes, look to NASA and space exploration for some guidance. Oh, yea – I almost forgot. Thanks NASA for Velcro, smart guy.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
      • Doh

        “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics, whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” -President John F. Kennedy

        August 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Matt

      "Nothing to impact our day-to-day lives." What do you want, a more advanced toothbrush? Go back to business school and leave the true visionary thinking to those with the intelligence, vision, and foresight capable of doing so. I would hate to live in your limited, narrowly defined world.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • n2video

      Tina, your ignorance is absolutely profound. You have no idea what you are talking about. No science experiments???? REALLY??? Curiosity just happens to have the most sophisticated chemical laboratory that has ever landed on Mars. Just because no "science" results have yet been published, just the complicated landing sequence alone should tell you that an engineering feat of untold magniturde has been accomplished. You suffer from a common malady, that of "instant gratification syndrome." You want answers NOW, and your petulance is exposing you as an immature and misinformed person. There will be more sicence coming out of this mission than your small mind can even handle. Just how much are you going to complain when Curiosity takes the better part of a YEAR to reach the base of Mount Sharp before it can even begin its historic climb up the mountain? You had best READ AND COMPREHEND what this mission is about. You might just learn a thing or two in spite of yourself.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • DanBun

      Wrong. Very wrong. These rover missions have proven excellent capabilities in the field of engineering, if nothing else. And the science gained is actually quite important, as we have found several distinct proofs that Mars did indeed have water at one point, and it was there for quite a while. The European orbiter has also discovered Methane plumes at mars, originating seasonally from the surface. These examples are only a few of many.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • McNothing

        Engineer here. I concur with this statement.

        August 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Emiline

      I would LOVE if we were able to say that these particular nasa missions were producing something or anything, but that sad truth is that they are not. These particular nasa missions are producing absolutely nothing. Long gone, are the days when the nasa missions would produce something , because these nasa missions, these days I should say , produce absolutely nothing. It is a sad shame but, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it as taxpayers.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • DanBun

        What do you want them to produce, if engineering advancements and scientific discoveries are not enough?
        What did they produce in the past, that you refer to, that you would like to see more of?

        August 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
      • Ja-Coffalotte

        You are just so dumb.

        August 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      And we should listen to you because...you're incapable of spelling, forming a proper sentence, punctuating and simply organizing your thoughts?

      Yeah, well...somehow I'm a lot more comfortable with the folks at NASA...

      August 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Mike

      There's no money supply worth 3 billion-billion dollars...at least that's what you said. And you never know until you try. Maybe NASA should've hired you from the start. Or maybe you should reveal yourself as God since you seem to be all-knowing.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Doh

      Wow. Someone needs to go back to college and take a critical thinking course. So many fallacies, it's mind-boggling.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Nathan

      Honestly, I'm not sure what I just read. A good life pro-tip is to simply not talk about things which you don't understand.

      "It is a 3,000,000,000 BILLION Dollar"
      FYI: That's 3 quintillion dollars (3*10^18). The estimated value of ALL services and products of the US about 15 trillion dollars (1.5*10^13). At that cost if we poured all of our money of the entire country, we could afford that in about 196,152 years. That's an expensive rover, huh?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • BoddaGetta

      As the population of our planet infinitely expands into billions and billions, we'll have nowhere to go but off Earth. In a few centuries we'll approach the Earth's projected human capacity of roughly 10.5 billion human beings. Unless there's mass death, birth control, or some other means of population control, we have to start looking off-planet. Companies like the United Space Alliance [real organization] are already sponsering rockets to send to asteroids to mine for elements, since many are made of pure iron or even platinum. Many resources are depleted just by natural need, not excess. It's something we need to do if we want to progress and survive as a species.

      Mars is a much more desirable planet to terra-form than the Moon. Not to mention it's a bit bigger and most likely supported life billions of years ago before its magnetosphere was lost. If you want your descendents to stay on this planet in an overpopulated, layered, trashy city on a dying Earth, by all means, curse NASA and any space exploration. My great-great-great grandchildren [hopefully by that time] will be exploring our Solar System and looking for places for humanity in the expanse of the universe. Do you even have a shred of curiosity or interest in things beyond your own nose?

      Meanwhile, the US is spending TRILLIONS–rather than billions–of taxpayer dollars on homeland defense, more than the 26 other countries behind us COMBINED...25 of those said countries are part of the UN and our close allies. We have enough nukes to destroy this entire planet 10+ times, rendering the entire surface incapable of supporting us or most life. That scary ideal is another reason why exploring the stars and other planets is an attractive prospect to me.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • JohnC

      "There is NO scientific experiments or research done WHATSOEVER!!". What do you base this on? What are they doing with those mass spectrometers, sensors and such? True they haven't done much just yet as they only recently landed (an amazing feat of technology right there that can be used in many ways) but they'll spend what may be years testing, drilling, sensing for minerals, possible organic life and information to show us the history of the planet. I get to experience the thrill of learning what they learn for less than the cost of one day at an amusement park. The technology to get there and rove autonomously may help on earth and what we learn may change our view of everything but even without that it's a small price just to explore as true humans are meant to do. If you feel more money should be used for the poor or to cure disease then skip two days at an amusement park and you will double the money spent going to mars and use that for the good causes.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • LiliC

      tl;dr

      to sum it up: troll

      August 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Luca

      Tina, I guess you're not aware that the Curiosity rover carries more than just a few cameras right? I'm not saying that all of its discoveries may translate to bettering our life here on earth but you truly have to be ignorant to think that pictures are the only thing coming out of it.

      You see, all satellites carry what are called "scientific payloads" which means they carry instruments that measure things such as chemical composition, presence (or absence) of water vapor, seismometers (thingys that measure vibrations in the ground). All of this information is compiled into "research papers" which are available to the public (since your tax dollars paid for it, the research is available). It may be a bit too technical for someone like you to understand but it is out there, maybe you can find someone you know who went to college to dumb it down for you.

      But I digress, sure maybe the fact that water once flowed on Mars won't make filling up your Ford Truck any cheaper but you, ma'am live a sad, sad existence if all you care about is money and cannot appreciate the wonders of our world, our solar system and our universe. So in the end, I feel bad for you.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Desh

      We just landed a rover on another planet other than ours, thats pretty amazing to me. I would rather Nasa have the money then the military. We spent 100 times more on the war in Iraq, wich did nothing, but cost money and lives.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • mudbone9

      We spent way over 800 billion dollars on the war in IRAQ and for what? The cost of this mission came to less than one third of one percent of what that war cost us. At least this is all positive news. If there turns out that life never exited on Mars then so be it. At least mankind will finally know the truth. If we do end up finding that life does or once did exit there then that will greatly increase the possibility that life exists else where in the universe.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • McNothing

      "nothing is being gotten" "Go even ask" Who writes like this? And thinks they can comment on a space mission.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Top Scientist (Anthro-Climatology)

      Gaaawwwwd! Mizzz "Picture hater"!

      August 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  54. HolyChrist

    For those who think it's a waste a money, take a few seconds and do some research on the advancements that has come out of NASA and understanding our universe.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • DanBun

      And this has been done at less than one percent of the federal budget.
      Surely the USA can continue to explore, and lead the world in exploring, the universe. We do this not just for the USA, but for all humanity. It is learning for learning's sake, which s clearly part of any advancedmodern nation.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  55. SpaceCadet

    No one spent $2.6 billion on Mars. It was spent on Earth paying machinists, technicians, scientists and engineers, truck drivers, boat captains and pilots to design, build, test,transport, launch, land and operate the many parts of the rover and it's rocket. The money wasn't spent all at once. More like over 6-7 years, maybe more.

    It's the economy folks....Want to spend that money elsewhere? Then say good-bye to the only team from any country that can land on Mars now and they have done it 5 times straight ...Pathfinder rover, Phoenix Lander, and the rovers Spirit, Oppurtunity and Curiosity. I think that's something like 7000 jobs across the country. Those team members spend their salaries on cars, gas, medical needs, movies,homes, kids, college, restaurants, and vacations... neighborhood businesses. NASA dollars pay peoples wages and salaries and that help the larger US economy.

    Ending the space shuttle cost 8000 jobs in FL alone and rippled into real estate, schools, and businesses spreading the downturn farther into the economy. Do we really want to fire 7000 more people that have jobs today and pay taxes?

    August 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • n2video

      You're spot on, SpaceCadet. I've been saying the same thing over and over and over again to these "space is a waste" know-nothings.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Andy

      Let them do it for profit instead of tax dollars.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
      • Dannny

        They ARE doing it for profit. Profits can be measured by more than an immediate return in dollars.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
      • Matt

        MBA thinking at its finest.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • Doh

        You do realize NASA supplements a large portion of their expenses by selling their thousands of patents, right?

        August 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Tim W.

      I could not agree more ! I have been staying this for years when someone says NASA is a waste of money !

      August 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • craig

      Where the heck is the "Like" button?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  56. john

    tes plant kudzo it will grow on anyting. if it toke hold mars wouldbe green in 10 years

    August 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  57. Andy

    Tracks? Where is the Sierra Club on this one. Let's push to make Mars "Wilderness" so that no motorized or mechanized vehicle can spoil such desolate beauty (and waste our tax money).

    August 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • JohnC

      The point of preserving areas on Earth is to protect LIFE. We also protect non-life on Earth when it may impact LIFE. When we find LIFE on mars we can talk about preserving. Meanwhile I think it will survive some tracks and assorted bits of metal.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • DanBun

      Very short-sighted. Based on that, we should cease exploring.
      Were the Europeans wrong to explore the Americas?
      Space is the future of humanity.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Nathan

      Actually, NASA has strict guidelines on what they can do on foreign ecosystems. Its called the planetary protection program. A lot of time is focused on making sure the MSL has a minimal impact on mars!

      August 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • bozobub

      If you think space is a "waste", then stop using your computer immediately. Yes, that's right, the computer in its modern form owes quite a good bit to the space program. In fact, the list of benefits to society of the space program is quite long; but I wouldn't expect a Luddite who is too lazy to Google "benefits of the space program" to be anything BUT a silly twit about it, either.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Doh

      If you hate exploration, then deep down, you hate America, since we wouldn't exist if the early explorers didn't think it was important to explore across the unknown seas, or head westward across the continent, a la Lewis and Clark.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  58. SB

    It makes me sad that we invariably have to defend the necessity and the benefits of pushing the bounds of what we know (science) and what we can do with that knowledge (technology). Where do these people come from, who rail against such things? How did we, as a society, fail so thoroughly to educate them? This is something we need to examine, urgently.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • n2video

      AT least 5 "likes" from me.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Matt

      The anti-science crowd grows daily, unfortunately.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
      • Doh

        That's because thinking too hard makes their head hurt.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  59. Edward

    I find it interesting that they decided to name this mission "Curiosity" cause that's all it is is a multi-billion dollar curiosity experiment, with absolutely nothing of value to be achieved from it, no science experiments, no data collected, no new inventions that can be based off of this research...only a bunch of worthless Pictures!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • SB

      You must be trolling. You have to be trolling. You just have to. There's no way you could care enough to comment on this program without knowing that Curiosity is a roving science lab, and that pictures are a secondary benefit. Everybody knows that.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • runner305

      I'm not knowledgeable about the mission's details. However, I'm reasonably sure that they conduct scientific experiments during the mission. In fact, the article goes into details of how the Rover will be analyzing soil samples and so forth.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • n2video

      Edward, first of all, the name Curiosity was chosen as part of a contest centered around school-age kids in order to rekindle their interest in space. I believe the name Curiosity was suggested by an 8- or 10-year old girl. Seconldy, you OBVIOUSLY have not read even a single paragraph about this mission, because if you had, you would realize that Curiiosity has the most sophisticated chemical laboratory on board ever landed on another planet. The mission, FYI, is to analyze differerent sedimentary layers along the face of Mount Sharp in the center of Gale Crater, looking for organic molecules, the precursors for life. It is trying to answer THE central question of our existence, namely, are we unique and alone in the Universe, or is life so common that it exists almost everywhere in the heavens? If you don't have this question in your mind, either subconsciously or in the forefront of your thoughts, you are not living up to your potential as a sentient human being. Do yourself a HUGE favor and read up on the mission. You might just learn a thing or two in spite of yourself.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Doh

      You statement lost all legitimacy after you asserted NASA didn't invent anything.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Matt

      The photographs are for the benefit of the public. The plethora of scientific material gathered by the rover is hardly going to be posted to CNN..

      August 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  60. Fossihund

    Basic research drives applied research which in turn yields applications that benefit all of us. A causual observation led to the discovery of the antibiotic effects of penicillin. For those opposed to missions to Mars consider a couple of things. First, take a look sometime at the percentage of the national budget which is given to NASA. Second, many people say we should not do this type of thing until all of humanity's problems here on Earth are resolved. Hell will freeze over before then. Me, I am 56 and remember the thrill of the Apollo Moon missions. I hope I live long enough to see manned trips to Mars, and maybe even beyond.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • JohnC

      agree. And we should also explore and learn just for it's own sake. It's just part of being human. It's what we are meant to do. If we have the wealth for video games, cool cars, art, etc. then certainly we can use a small fraction of that to just plain learn more about our universe and still feed the poor and cure diseases. If we don't have enough money then lets forgo the cool cars and other fluff instead of good research.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  61. PennyNot

    Keep Wolowitz away from this one!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • wayne

      lol,my first thoughts.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  62. runner305

    $2.5B is a drop in the bucket. I have twice that much in the Caymans, and three times that much in Swiss accounts!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Top Scientist (Anthro-Climatology)

      Obama, that's you, isn't it?

      August 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  63. FISH FRY

    WOW... tracks. GIVE ME MY TAX MONEY BACK!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • tom

      why does EVERYTHING have to be political with all you people?

      If you don't like taxes, move somewhere that has no government. I guess you expect your groceries and electricity to be free also. We pay taxes to support a government. You may not like everything it spends money on, but the government represents EVERYONE, not just you.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • tom

        "If you don't like taxes" ... correction, I should have said "if you don't think you should have to pay taxes and that the tax money you paid is YOURS to be spent YOUR WAY..."

        August 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • hudson5585

        Saudi Arabia and the UAE citizens pay no taxes. The government gets enough income from oil. Look at how accountable that government is to its people.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Where would you like your share – roughly $8 – sent?

      August 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • SB

      I'll tell you what: I'll give you the $8.00 of "your" money if you promise to buy a book with it.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
      • SB

        Oh and by the way, since the cost was spread out over 8 years you'll be receiving $1 per year for 8 years, exactly the same way it went in. Enjoy!

        August 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • tffl

      And of course you will give me back "my" tax money that I feel is wasted on crap that is important to you?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Doh

      Yeah, screw you NASA! We don't need the electronic computers, mobile communications, and satellite technologies you developed!

      August 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • JohnC

      My share of taxes for this is less than a day at an amusement park but I get way more thrill from exploring another planet.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • waaaagh

      Ok FISH FRY, I'll personally give you your 1 taxpayer cent so you can sleep calm at night. Just give me a call.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • MathRocks

      Here's a 10-spot. That's your share of the entire development of this rover. Now you give me back my share of the war in Iraq...

      August 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  64. huflungdung

    When Civil War II breaks out in this country by the end of the year, none of this rubbish will be worth a hill of beans!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • SB

      You're from one of those places where education is considered suspect, aren't you?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  65. bro

    I suppose next they will spend another billion to go and pave the roads

    August 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Apparently they don't need to. They allocated nearly 1000 times that amount to provide "shovel ready jobs" four years ago, and have spent little more than half of it since, while leaving the full amount weighing down the deficit.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • tom

      ha ha ha .... wow that's just hilarious bro....you should be on late night tv. you are such a brilliant comic.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Curious

      When did tax money ever go to paving roads?

      August 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  66. SpaceCadet

    If you want to work for NASA go for it. Get the skills in college and grad school. Cooperative education jobs and internships let you join the teams while still a student. Then apply for jobs you really like after graduation. Its easier if they've seen your work and know you. Worked for me 35 years ago and still going.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  67. Collin

    I love the thought of an American rover exploring Mars. Its cool Its just hard for me to understand how we can spend 2.6 billion dollars to make a rover that can sustain itself for possibly decades on solar power on a planet that is roughly 35 million miles away, but we fail to put forth the same effort and zeal into investing in sustainable energy and technology on our own planet.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Over the last few years, we've spend between $15 billion to $40 billion per year on alternative energy through the Federal government. The amount dwarfs the annual spending on the Curiosity project – that $2.6 billion is spread over more than a decade, less than $250 million per year.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Collin

        Thank you for the feedback! I realize there is a major difference in the funding of these two areas, however there is still another even bigger difference. There is a rover on Mars. Three actually. That money has been well used, Mission complete. Millions of people in the U.S. still fill their vehicles, power their homes, etc. with non-renewable energies. Where is the real headway? Sure, we've made some, but where is the proverbial "rover on Mars" in the renewable energies mission? I guess I may just be too impatient...

        August 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • SB

      Curiosity is powered by an RTG, not solar power. Radioactive decay->heat->electrical current.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
      • Collin

        Thank you for catching that. My mistake. And thank you as well for explaining radioisotopes to a Chem. Engineer major.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  68. WillyWalnuts

    After reading alot of these posts, I have to wonder why anyone thinks this is money well spent. I was in Viet Nam in 1969 and was amazed by the moon landing (to show the Russians that we could master space after their Sputnik). Alot of technology was gleaned from that – but we could afford a war and space then. Not now.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • GN

      This level of exploration is easily affordable – it's a lousy few billion in a 15 trillion dollar economy. And that assumes all the few billion has no secondary economic benefit – not that that matters to be truthful.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Curiosity's total budget is ~$2.5 billion, spread over more than a decade. That's less than $250 million per year.

      Easily affordable.

      NASA's entire budget amounts to less than one half of one percent of the total Federal budget – a pittance.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • David Myers

      So to helll with the wars! Simple. Let's save our planet from ourselves, then continue looking for other planets to colonize (in the distant future) and ways to keep our own planet safe from extinction events (massive meteors from space and our own abuse of our planet). All better than wars! If we can't make these priorities instead of wars then we don't deserve to survive as a species.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Doh

      And we're still more likely to lose our freedoms due to our own fantastic government than any hypothetical invasion by the Soviets that we're going to need the world's most expensive military to fight. Oh wait, they don't exist anymore, do they?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Tim

      Something to think about: The Curiosity program cost us $2.5 billion over 10 years. The war in Afghanistan (not counting the Iraq war) cost us $2.5 billion every 5-6 days. War costs us so much, that adding the cost of Curiosity would be like spitting in the ocean.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • sosueme

      We can afford this right now. It's just that so much money goes to lazy people who think they are owed a living with out actually working for it, and we do have (gasp) corrupt people in our government who would rather borrow money from other countries than try to cut spending and balance our budget. I think space exploration is a must for our people to evolve.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  69. Petey

    Who the hell cares what happens on Mars – Why is it so important? Keep the money here on earth and lay off al these people that think trapesing around mars will help mankind here. Loosers just like our political leaders!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Nohomers

      Where do you think the money is spent? Honestly, think about it. Do you think there's literally a bucket of money on Mars, taken away from you? American jobs and people on earth put that rover there. The amount spent by NASA is PENNIES compared to the national budget, to include health care. And the takeaways from innovations like this are immeasureable.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • Tomorrow

        nohomers must be a democrat or repiblican and a terrible baseball player!

        August 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – all that money was spent right here on earth; nearly all of it was spent in the United States. The Curiosity project alone has provided over 7000 jobs.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Stupid

        i dont think that was the point of Petey. Go get another degree!

        August 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Tim Fotinos

      Humans are explorers. In this case of a new world. It may some day be a home to people.

      In the mean time as we learn about Mars we learn about geology in general, robotics (handy for such things as repairing deep sea oil wells, materials, energy storage, etc.

      NASAs whole budget is $18 billion. Americans spend $50 billion a year on light beer alone.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • David Myers

      Guess we better invest a little more in education so losers like you can learn to spell.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Doh

      Your statement doesn't make any sense, since the money was spent here on Earth in the US. Otherwise there must be some really happy Martian businesses on Mars right now.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • MathRocks

      You know, I have to wonder how many of these morons who post about what a waste NASA is are paid Republican shills...look, there's a neat little pattern. Someone with a common one-word handle post something stupid, and the rest of us flame back all the benefits gained from NASA missions. Personally, I'd like to cut the military budget by 20% and give it ALL to NASA. What's spent in a year trying to kill people would be WAY better spent trying to figure out how the universe works.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  70. U2

    Their are looking what they have already know the answer...

    August 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  71. wads

    The bumper sticker on the back of Curiosity says, "If God intended us to be vegetarians, he wouldn't have made cows out of meat".... I'll bet that'll give em a bit to ponder up there.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • sosueme

      LOL! Now that's funny! I believe in God, meat, space exploration, and people being responsible for themselves, their family , and also old and truly infirm people and children. I have no problem helping my neighbor, I just want to see people who can help themselves and others who may truly need it, do so! I'm tired of paying taxes to a huge government that spends it on themselves first and gives so much to the lazy class. Grow up America, most of you act like spoiled children! I do not include all of you who work hard and pay too much in taxes,.I want to see our America strong and proud again. Go NASA! Space exploration is our future.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  72. Sank

    Why don't NASA send some seeds with water and try to plant there, it will be interesting to see if it can grow there

    August 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • GN

      Because they do not want to contaminate – also it wouldn't work anyway.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Sank

        mars have ample of CO2 in its atmosphere. may be land on poles where there is day for 6 months and try out there. I wouldn't its contamination .......

        August 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jeff

      If there is nothing growing there now...what makes you think you can plant a seed and it would grow now??

      August 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Sank

        Its because seed of life was never sowed in there. Let's give a try

        August 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • GN

      With all respect go read a book or ten. Check the Martian environmental factors and atmospheric composition and get back to me if you still have the same opinion.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Sank

        All books are based on some assumption and that's why you do experiments. If books would have answered everything then ......

        August 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • jimmy

        no i agree. lets give it a shot. persistance is key. take your books and shove 'em!!!!!!!!

        August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • GN

      And you somehow don't think people have done experiments on the germination of seeds in extreme conditions???? Please go do some checking.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Lee s

      what plants would grow at freezing temperatures and constant bombardment by radiation? None. NTM you would need to bring the water supply for its entire life. Too much weight.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Look up the temperatures on Mars.

      Also, plants need oxygen. Their metabolism is the same as animals at night. During the day, they produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, and there is a net gain balanced against their nighttime consumption, but plants will die from the lack of oxygen every bit as surely as any mouse or whale.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  73. sanjay

    The comments here are more entertaining than the article itself. LOL!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  74. SK

    It is interesting to know that these vehicles are roving the surface of Mars. I wish the same technology were used to power vehicles on Earth, so we would not be so reliant on oil and petroleum

    August 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tell The Truth Mister

      The amazing thing is that this whole $2.6Billion fiasco was lucky to get past the initial landing. Who gave anybody the right to gamble the US taxpayer's money – to that extent – on something this frivolous ?

      August 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • RnR

        Yeah, no taxpayer money is being wasted on gambling who the next fool is to occupy the White House. And besides, you gave them the right when you signed your W-2. That is if you have a job and you're not just whining on your computer all day. Oh, wait........

        August 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • Mzabi

        I am not American, but I beleive that you should be glad that your Country is spending that much money on Science. You know why? because that's what made you one of the most powerfull countries on this planet (Certainly not the wisest during the Buch era lol). $2.5 B seems a a lot of money...now, but once you will see the results of this type of scientific adventures you will realize (or maybe the next generation)it was worth every penny spent. Excuse my english

        August 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
      • Tom

        Amen, Mzabi. Thanks for saying it so clearly.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Briefly, democracy gave NASA that right.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • Thinking Vet

        This cost about the same amount of money as a few days of the Bush Iraq war. We'll get a lot more science from this than that tragady. This science mission is what our great country should be doing.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Ambu

      Yes a vehicle that can drive 50 to 100 meters will surely help out on our dependency to fossil fuels.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Nathan

      Curiosity uses a type of nuclear reactor called a RTG (radioisotope thermoelectric generator). RTGs are incredibly inefficient, however, are very useful on long-term space missions where a power source is needed with no moving parts. The power output of a RTG couldn't possibly power a car.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  75. Awesomeness Incarnate

    This makes me wish I worked at NASA. They do the most badass stuff over there! I would love to one day program a space craft. That would be awesome!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Tell The Truth Mister

      Just play a few video games and fantasize at your own expense. This Mars exploration is a HUGE waste of time and money.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • n2video

        Tell the Truth, yours is the most ignorant comment I have ever read. This mission, and ALL space missions are certainly NOT a waste of money. You don't even know what this mission is all about, and if you did, you would not say it's a waste of money. What if Queen Isabella, when asked for funding by Christopher Columbus, had said, "Nah! It's a waste of money."? People like you can't see past your noses and anything that has anything to do with scientific exploration in your backward mind is "a waste of money." There are technological spinoffs that touch YOUR life every single day without you even knowing it. Besides THAT fact, the Curiosity mission alone has gainfully employed around 7000 AMERICANS who then turned around and spent that hard-earned money buying goods and services for their families, IMPROVING the economy rather than DESTROYING it, like 2 unpaid for wars. Before you EVER say again that this mission is a waste of money, you'd better think before you type.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  76. Tell The Truth Mister

    Does the Government know something we "Commoners" don't know ? Is there an imminent asteroid strike or something? The US is broke so why spend $2.6 BILLION just to see what's on an uninhabitable planet ? Seriously, the Space Shuttle Program was shut down at the cost of 10000 jobs but at least there was some National Pride associated with it.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • L.C

      People like you look at a billion dollars and think its a large amount of money. Its a drop in the bucket compared to social programs and military funding. You really think that if they didn't spend 2 billion on a mission to mars they'd give it to the people as a tax break? Think again. Missions like these help progress technology and society in ways you couldn't even fathom.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • Tell The Truth Mister

        If you spend your money that frivolously, I'll bet your credit rating is in the "crapper".

        August 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • itreallydoesntmatterwhatwethink

        People liek you think a billion isn't much...which is why we spend billions and billions and then more billions

        August 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Paul

        I'm afraid Tell The Truth Mister (i.e.: the troll) got you. He kept on posting until he got a response. If you ignore him he might go away. We can hope anyway.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
      • Sharkmann

        "Total program cost including development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997" for the B2 stealth bomber which is too expensive to deploy in a hostile environment which makes it's stealth worthless And people complain about the cost of the Rover?.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • veggiedude

      $2.6 Billion is practically one day of war in Afghanistan. It is peanuts and we should be spending more on projects like this.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • GN

      Aha – a conspiracy hint already. What a shock. And NO – there is not an imminent or anything like imminent threat that you mention.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • Tell The Truth Mister

        Glad you're in the inner circle of those that "know".

        August 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • GN

      Actually I sort of am. I have colleagues who work in the asteroid search business.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • bam

      explain to me WHY it is OK to spend SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY BILLION on military??? 350billion more than ALL other countries combined...

      August 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  77. mike

    One day someone will ski Mount Sharp.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  78. Tony in St. Louis

    I think that in about a month or two, NASA will announce that Curiosity is cruising about the Martian surface and will reach Mount Sharp about a year and a half ahead of schedule! Wink Wink, NASA! Somebody save this post for my "I told u so"! The roving part of roving is not so new. I think there is more to Curiosity than we've been told!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  79. DAVE

    Wow i'm impressed the rover made tracks on Mars.Waste of money that could be spent feeding starving people not for the enjoyment of people who were the geeks in high school.Were not leaving this earth just face it morons!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • THX1953

      Beg to differ.

      It is right there in your Thumper's Manuel.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth.

      (the rest of us are going to the Stars)

      August 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • L.C

      Dave, I'm glad you think that the a mere 2.5 billion will help solve world hunger. Or maybe you'd like to put that 2 billion into military funding so that we wouldn't have a world anymore.
      The technology that gets developed through NASA could very well solve all the problems of the world including energy and food. Ever heard of space food? You think its useless, but it helps astronauts store foods for extended periods of time exceeding conventional expiration dates. Technology like a laser powerful enough to destroy rocks could help us be more energy efficient, instead of using dynamite, or accurate enough that it could help medical advances.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Rob

      Get a life Dave.... You must have been a bully moron in high school...

      August 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • RnR

      I get so tired of hearing the "feeding starving people" angle. If NASA didn't spend the money on Curiosity what makes you think that any of it would have found it's way to starving people?

      August 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • cneilsmith

      "Were [sic] not leaving this earth just face it morons!"

      Our Sun will eventually die, so if we don't find a way to get off this planet, humans will end up extinct.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Doh

      How about we cut the military budget to feed the starving children? That amount would do some actual good.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  80. pop

    Why you can't get a job? Because the rich and government had been hiding their money without provide accessible dream...

    you see product inflation.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  81. McNothing

    This endeavor is HUGELY AWESOME. I'm all for innovation and innovation is where we lead when we are focused on what we do best as a nation.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  82. Sharkmann

    Mount Sharp sure looks to me to be a volcanic upwelling from a meteorite impact. They should check the walls of the crater and not the mount in the center for stratigraphy

    August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      The plan is to check both. But they've already studied Mt. Sharp in great detail; it is definitely not volcanic, and shows clear stratification. Its exact history is unclear.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Sharkmann

      By volcanic, I do not mean a volcano but rather melted rock from an impact. Good to hear they will check both and thank you for the reply.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        It was originally mistaken for a rebound feature, but apparently isn't after all.

        August 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • LiliC

      I was wondering too if Mount Sharp was a rebound feature.

      I think you can see some layering though in the photos that are taken so far...

      August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  83. Buck Rogers

    Fake...

    http://www.fountainsofthegreatdeep.com/IFS.htm

    August 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • John

      Yes, those web sites are bullcrap.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Doh

      Everything on the internet is real! If someone wrote it, it must be real! Just like the Bible!

      August 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  84. Vad

    GREAT! JUST GREAT! Now the hostile aliens will find the tread marks and trace them back to Earth. Time to break out the aluminum foil hat and shotgun.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • misty69

      May I suggest whatever variant you want of the Mossberg 500 and some Reynolds Wrap ?

      August 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  85. BobZemko

    The rover is programmed to play Slim Whitman music in case it is attacked by martians.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  86. Wow

    All of this just seems like a waste of money.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      That's because your mind is too small to grasp it.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        ...I was going to say "the grandeur of it", but I decided not to burden you with too many syllables.

        August 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Really?

      A waste of money exploring another planet, the possibility of life, and the expansion of our own knowledge? Go and crawl back into the cess pool you sprung from.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  87. Xman

    Because the world does not revolve around you getting a job. No matter how much things might suck for you, the remainder of the world still has to move on. As best it can.

    Good luck, though.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  88. THX1953

    Money better spent, than the Billions each year we spend attempting to keep people from getting high, who just go out and Get High anyway!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • THX1138

      Everyone should just stop doing drugs. Even alcohol.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • THX2012

        I hope that includes video games, posting on CNN, coffee, sugar and cigarettes. And psycho"therapeutic" prescription drugs.

        Or you could just allow everyone to take personal responsibility for their habit...

        August 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  89. Eman

    Would like to see a "burn-out" and a "wheelie"......

    August 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • wads

      i don't care who you are, that's funny!

      August 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • wads

        Oh, and I meant Eman, was funny. Dan should have a bowl of relaxo's.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  90. TODAY

    WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT DAMN ROVER ON MARS IF I CANNOT GET JOB ON EARTH IN UNITED STATES?

    August 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • THX1953

      Green Card first, then job.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I'm pretty certain you wouldn't.

      I'm guessing that's because you have a small mind.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Patrick

      Maybe you should stop yelling all of your statements... It's very off putting.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • moronparty

      please don't blame a robot for your horrible failings

      August 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • RnR

        Heh. Good one.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Bill

      Typical neanderthal response. It's useless unless it affects your pathetic life directly. If everyone said this we'd still be living in caves thinking the world is flat. Grow a brain.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • oldandwise

      Perhaps if you had the intelligence to comprehend the significance of this mission you would be gainfully employed.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Study

      Try to get an education; then may be you could be part of the NASA mission to Venus in future!

      August 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • LiliC

      The more important question is, why would we care what you (a non-tax paying citizen) care about?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • The Aliens

      Have you tried applying for a job? That usually helps me get a job.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  91. runner305

    Fantastic!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  92. Impressed

    Nice!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  93. Giant Alert code red

    Drive it home ET

    August 23, 2012 at 2:54 am |

Contributors

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    Senior Designer