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back to article First full landing site and colour pictures back from Mars

NASA is firing up a new camera on the Curiosity rover, offering the first color pictures of the landing site, while another pass by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has given a more detailed look at the landing area and its debris on the Martian surface. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) has been undocked from its housing …

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Pint

Good grief, they deserve some fun! 80-hour weeks? Wow.

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Pint

If my job were working on space programmes, I think I'd be motivated to 80 hour weeks too :-)

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I wouldn't know what to do with all the spare time.

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Bobak Ferdowsi

Another Iranian in the lead in the space industry. He joins Anousheh Ansari.

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Go

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Actually, we call them Persian-American's.

The gov't of Iran issued a statement of protest about the movie 300, because it implied that the king of Persia was gay or possibly bi-curious. So the current Iranian administration claims to be the inheritors of the Persian legacy. Big shoes to fill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

To be fair, the Persians in 300 were pretty freaky. But then the Spartans might as well have been walking penises.

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WTF?

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

"Actually, we call them Persian-American's."

Why does everyone in america have to be "[something] American"? Is it some sort of insecurity thing or is just to stand out from the next guy? I've come across so called "Irish" americans whos ancestors last saw ireland in the 19th century and would have trouble finding Dublin on a map yet they still laughably consider themselves Irish. Do me a favour , they're about as Irish as a Big Mac. There's something odd about american society in that the population constantly trumpet the USA yet don't seem to want to associate with it culturally.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

"Actually, we call them Persian-American's"

Why? He's American. It doesn't matter where his parents were from. Racism sucks.

Not that Persia exists. It's just a name that is applied to 'nice' things from Iran (like rugs and comedians) to obfuscate origins and separate them from that 'nasty' word in pop culture: Iran.

Ask someone to buy an Iranian rug, and a lot of people would baulk, thanks to the 'Everything Iranian is evil' media image.

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Happy

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Can't remember what it was, by I saw some hilarious clip where an American was interviewing a black British man, and he was getting more and more irate because she kept referring to him an "African American".

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Try and think of why that is, for more than a second. ;)

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Nah, you're missing it entirely. In America, as soon as you emigrate, you become '****-American'. Instantly. You are now just as American as the WASP down the street. As as soon as you know the patriotic chants (hint: "USA! USA! USA!" goes down pretty well), that's it, you've made it.

Contrast that to the UK, where even 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants will cling forcibly to their old nationality, and not consider themselves "British" in the slightest (qv the Tebbit test). I think the US does a better job of integrating (legal) immigrants into mainstream society than any other country.

Having said that, it is funny in cities with strong Irish links (Chicago, Boston etc), on St Patricks Day, everyone is Irish. Even the Mexicans!

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@boltar

As a Iranian-English person (or is that a English-Iranian?) I whole heartedly agree. I might have been born there, but I consider myself English. Not even British, just English.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Irish-Americans moving to Ireland and trying to be Irish are known in Ireland as "Plastic Paddies"! :-)

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

"Actually, we call them Persian-American's."

You can call them what you like. I call them "Americans" (without the apostrophe); I'm not interested in your cultural/racial dick waving.

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

""Actually, we call them Persian-American's"

Why? He's American. It doesn't matter where his parents were from. Racism sucks.

Not that Persia exists. It's just a name that is applied to 'nice' things from Iran (like rugs and comedians) to obfuscate origins and separate them from that 'nasty' word in pop culture: Iran."

I've just rebranded my cat. From now on the Dwarf Wookie lookalike which sleeps on my desk will be known as an Iranian Cat :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Some people like to use Persian to differentiate from the current regime and to emphasise the rich history (it was a big empire before being brought down by Alexander The Great). Iranians are not arabs, they've retained their language and calendar and customs and many of them are not even Muslim (most are though).

So, if on a form you have to state your ethnicity (it's on many government forms), you can perhaps understand why this description of Persian may be used. One day, we may get to a position where none of this is required.

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Unhappy

Wannabe American-Irish

Walk around Dublin and you'll find many, many Irish people, usually young, who really, really want to be American. They shop in the States (or, at least, used to), speak with faux-American accent, pepper their language with Americanisms ('enough already' and so on). You hear them on radio quite often too.

They are just so cool.

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Hyphenated Americans

Odd, really, you never hear of any English-Americans. A less charitable person might suggest that this implies English ancestry is accepted as the default, despite that fact that only a minority have English ancestors.

Then again, I don't recall hearing of French-Americans or Dutch-Americans either, so I suppose hyphenation is only used for ethnic groups that mostly arrived after 1776.

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Re: Hyphenated Americans

Go to Michigan, plenty of Dutch-Americans.

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

Well, it is more about keeping in touch with their roots, since those who do this is acutely aware (and proud of the fact) that they are descended from immigrant populations.

And it isn't "everyone" in America. Not nearly that number.

What I as an ex-pat would like to know is: why does this, the temperature scale and the units of linear measurement used in the domestic USA cause such extreme angst in the vocal population of the UK? You reactionary nitwits really blow the "stiff upper lip" thing I've got going here when you freak out in public about something trivial that doesn't affect you and which happens in a country in which you do not live. What's the big deal?

Get a grip for fuck's sake. You're British. Act like it. It drives Americans mad with envy.

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WTF?

Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

@Stevie:

"You're British. Act like it."

They're complaining, for Cliff's sake! How much more British can they be?

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Vic
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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

> an American was interviewing a black British man, and he was getting more and more

> irate because she kept referring to him an "African American".

That happened to a former colleague of mine. Eventually, he had to correct said American in that he was neither African, nor American. He considered himself Welsh.

Vic.

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Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

"They're complaining, for Cliff's sake! How much more British can they be?"

The correct way of expressing that sort of thing is to sigh and shake one's head. I consider it a complete moral and technical failure of the UK 's younger generation that there is no emoticon for that.

Harrumph!

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Mohawk my arse!

That's a belter cut!

Mike

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Happy

Re: Mohawk my arse!

Each to their own little quirks, he has a belter cut? and you have a mohawk arse.

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Alien

Re: Mohawk my arse!

Spot on - it's a Belter cut all right. Now where did he park his singleship?

(And will Brennan be dropping an iceberg on Mars later?)

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Anonymous Coward

Shirley...

... It would have been a better idea to smash the sky crane into the direction of where they are digging Martian soil... Thus saving frekin laser beam time?

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Re: Shirley...

No, because that would get contaminants all over everything.

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Facepalm

Fancy haircut? Big deal! I'm working on a reverse Mohawk.

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Coat

Reverse mohawk

Isn't that also called "pattern baldness"? Just asking...

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Great pics

I haven't been this inspired in space since Apollo.

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Coat

Re: Great pics

The rocket or the Greek god?

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Pint

I don't care what your hair looks like, you stuck the landing. PROST!

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Everything about this is awesome

I am absolutely loving reading every little snippet about this -- so much nicer than day job news of the form 'here's a grey humming box that's 1.06% better than last year's grey humming box'.

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Paris Hilton

First impressions

I was looking at the incredible Mars satellite image showing the various landing system components scattered across the surface of this distant planet - the parachute, rocket pack, heat shield and capsule back shell - and I thought wow! What a mess! Curiosity's first task should be to scoot around and pick up all the crap it's littered the place with.

If any Martians see it they'll wonder what on Mars is going on.

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Happy

Re: First impressions

Are you suggesting that Curiosity is just a giant nuclear powered Roomba? If so, I WANT ONE!

Admittedly the delivery method might leave something to be desired. I suspect those living in the flats next to me will be a little distressed when the rocket exhaust starts to barbecue all their cars, and the noise of hovering rocket crane, car alarms and crash might be a little annoying as well.

But on the upside, I'll have a nuclear powered hoover - with lasers, and the cleanest flat in the world. I wonder if it can be programmed to have a backup security mode, and deal with intruders?

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Pint

Re: First impressions

It can't. It's not allowed near the stuff.

The rest of the litter is contaminated with organic material, and could taint any chemical findings, apparently.

True story.

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Alien

Re: First impressions

"contaminated with organic material"

Could bacteria exist on those components - wonder if it would thrive and live in such a hostile environment? Have we just introduced bacterial life to Mars?

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Alien

Re: First impressions

Any Martians would have looked through their telescopes at Essex, seen all the cars sprouting accessories and all the trash thrown in the streets and thought 'there goes the neighbourhood'.

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Re: First impressions

Every piece of equipment that landed or crashed on Mars on this mission was baked to reduce the amount of contaminant. It was then inspected by the American Planetary Protection Inspector (no, I'm not kidding and many countries have one) to ensure that the spore count on all surfaces was below the internationally mandated minimum.

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Boffin

Re: First impressions

I'm a bit worried that "reduce" and "internationally mandated minimum" won't result in a sterile lander.

Unless the lander is sterile, we have undoubtedly inoculated Mars with bacterial spores and maybe other resting forms. Whether any of the organisms on the lander and associated debris will actually find a habitable niche, is something that we'll find out in a many years time.

NASA is assuming that unless there is or has been life on Mars, then there won't be any niche that will allow growth of the kinds of microbes most likely to be present on the lander. Given the precautions during manufacture and assembly, the surviving contaminants are probably heterotrophs. Releasing autotrophs on Mars would be a Bad Thing(TM). I find it worrying that they're not delivering truly sterile spacecraft to Mars.

Note:

Autotrophs are organisms that use energy and inorganic chemicals to synthesise complex organic compounds. For example, purple sulphur bacteria and green plants are photosynthetic autotrophs. If we introduce the "right" autotrophs to Mars, they may colonise it. You may think that that's a good thing, a stage towards terraforming Mars, but I think it would be good to know rather more about the current Mars before we wreck or "improve" it.

Other organisms are Heterorophs that require complex organic compounds. You're a heterotroph, as is that Bacillus cereus colony sporulating on that portion of mashed potato I forgot to put in the 'fridge. Unless there is or has been life on Mars heterotrophs are not going to grow.

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Re: First impressions

"to ensure that the spore count on all surfaces was below the internationally mandated minimum."

One wonders what that mandated minimum might be. It only takes one. (Maybe two. Do spores have male/female sexes?)

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Anonymous Coward

Skycrane

There was mention in yesterdays press conference of a picture form the MSL which may show the Skycrane crashing.

Has anyone seen that, if so, where can it be seen?

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Pint

The heat-shield snapshot is from the MARDI camera, not the MAHLI

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Joke

OMG!

Have they realised what is about to happen? They better get that rover moving PDQ, otherwise it will be sent to the Phantom Zone.

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I'm truly amazed that we can do things like this.

Good fortune to the mission and all who made it possible.

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Really cool but...

I think this is a great achievement and all but someone is going to have to clean up that mess.

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Bah!

I for one lament falling standards and hope this scruffy git teddyboy look does *not* invade the corridors of the LOHAN Design Facility.

Such idiotic fashions have no place in rocketry. Was this the look that was sported at Woomera during its explosive heyday? I think not!

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Anonymous Coward

Come on...

Whens the Mars Live HD channel gonna launch.. just getting this actually happening would make this landing legendary!!

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Boffin

I fear, Ian, that in concentrating on Mr Ferdowsi,

you neglected the really vital story, which can be found here : http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/earth-hails-successful-mars-invasion-2012080637126?utm_campaign=08082012. Earth bacteria colonising Mars is one thing, but imagine if that «peace, philosophy, and so forth» infected the rover and managed in some fashion to make its way to this planet....

Henri

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