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back to article Mars rover Curiosity gets ready to blast its first rock

NASA's nuclear Mars truck Curiosity is poised to start zapping its first rock to find out what it's made of, and is on its way to its first major science destination. First rock target for Curiosity The rover is just eight feet from a football-sized rock that's about halfway between its landing site and its first destination …

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Can't get tired of stories featuring Opportunity.

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Agreed.......and of course Curiosity, which is the subject of this article, rather than its tiny older brother. ;-)

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FAIL

s/first/second/

They already attacked one to test the gun out.

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JDX
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They ran out of colour film, or they're trying to make the photos look more arty?

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Pint

Just be relieved they haven't started Instagramming the pictures...

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You get better luminosity information per bit with greyscale than you do with colour, which is why all photos from Curiosity are greyscale, apart from the ones from MAHLI, which is intended to only be used in specialised scenarios where colour is important.

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JDX
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Someone should set up an account to do that.

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E 2

Their chief Photoshop Scientist is on days off.

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Alien

film shortage

No they are just waiting for the photo's to get back from the HappySnaps' Lab the postal service is very slow you know

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Coat

72 Feet?

So, that's about 157 linguine per day. Guess they've got my GrandDad driving the thing. I've been wondering what the old guy was up to.

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Football?

Is that the spherical football of Blighty or the egg of Uncle Sam?

The picture has a shape not unlike that of a fancy Ferrero Rocher package like wot you find at Xmas.

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Pics of previous shooting

Previous laser test pictures here: And if you are on twitter, follow @MarsCuriosity - some really good tweeting and pics.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia15695.html

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Devil

Re: Pics of previous shooting

What's Twitter?

This is a tech site, you twit. Do it properly:

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/rss/targetFamily/Mars

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Pyramid

That rock looks a lot like a tiny pyramid, are they sure it's not someone Martian's little model of something else, this could cause a diplomatic incident or worse

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Re: Pyramid

Never mind little model of a pyramid - what if the Martians are really tiny and it's actually the tomb of a great Martian king? Cue inter-planetary war...

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Re: Pyramid

If their tombs are that small then there should be no problem them being swallowed by a small dog.

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Alien

Re: Pyramid

"...That rock looks a lot like a tiny pyramid..."

Just what I was thinking. Let's hope they've got a tiny Tom Baker standing by...

... just in case!

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As long as it doesn't. Get up and start walking away as soon as the laser hits it

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It may grow an arm-

and start disgorging bricks to make a new pyramid...

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Alien

Re: It may grow an arm-

You are Stanley G. Weinbaum and I claim my five pounds!

And anyway, hasn't that pyramid *shrunk* rather since Viking photographed it in 1976? Perhaps it's been on a diet.

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Anonymous Coward

All those little rocks who are about to die.....

.....we salute you!

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Ill-fitting tribute?

"The agency has nicknamed the rock "Jake Matijevic", after their colleague and surface operations systems chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory, who passed away last month." An agency spokesperson admitted, "We never really liked the bloke so we're going to blast the rock to smithereens!"

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Anonymous Coward

I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

so that each rock can be despatched with a suitably Schwarzeneggeresque quip

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Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

Better turn on the microphone as well, so we can hear if there's a yell of "Ouch! What the f*ck was that?"

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Happy

Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

Does the laser make the ever popular "peew, peew" sound when it fires?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

Does it make any noise at all if there's nobody there to hear it?

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Boffin

Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

No. Sound is dependent on the observer. Sound is nothing more than how air vibrations are modeled in the mind. Without an observer capable of modeling those vibrations, there is no "sound".

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Boffin

Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

Sophistry

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Facepalm

Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

Never mind the "peew, peew" bit...how about that other Holywood abomination - the entirely visible laser beam in clear air/vacuum?

In dust/smoke/gas free environments there is nothing for the laser to bounce off, so the only visible aspects at the source and destination points. Yet, without fail, (in holywoodland) laser beams are seen as solid beams of colour.

And even better, in some films you can even see the beam travel. Even though it would be impossible for the human eye to detect the light in travel.

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Re: I hope JPL uploaded some more audio

-- Schwarzeneggeresque --

GERMAN wasn't bad enough, you had to coin THAT?

Give me pyramids any time, please.

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Megaphone

Rock-Shaped Martians?

Did Charlie Bolden include a warning for all/any rock-shaped martians to take cover? If not, I guess the will.i.am broadcast should have cleared the area of any sentient life-forms.

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Trollface

Errr...

Isn't this how it all started for Captain Scarlet & the Mr.Ron's ?

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Alien

Re: Errr...

Nah they launched Missiles, but that looks like a Mysteron pet Rock.

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TRT
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Alien

Re: Errr...

I think you'll find it was the crew of the Zero X from Thunderbirds Are Go that started firing on peculiar rock formations in order to collect a sample only to find that they were alien rock monsters.

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Alien

odd shape for a random rock...

If you were a Martian, what would you send in to check any invasive alien wild life?

Boulder-cam?

http://scienceray.com/biology/elephants-as-camera-crew

or beatle-cam

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17293563

If you stare long enough to a rock, the rock will look back into you!

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Re: odd shape for a random rock...

-- if you were a Martian --

If you were a Martian, you'd have to deal with abnormal feem desire and repressed memory of your goricae.

You might even dwark someone! ("Bad medicine" by Robert Sheckley, ) www.gutenberg.org/files/9055/9055-h/9055-h.htm

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But...

Can we see photos of phobos passing the sun? That sounds cool.

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Re: But...

That last paragraph brought to mind the most wonderful mental image of the sands of Mars being affected like tides.

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Pirate

Re: But...

I thought the same. Found a couple of pics on the NASA site:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16152.html

Not quite what I had expected, nor where any unicorns to be seen.

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Language, language!

"...having now trundled across the Mars for six days..."

THE Mars? I've been seeing this linguistic abomination for some time now, everywhere I go. Stop doing it.

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Headmaster

Re: Language, language!

Raises an interesting point, you would say "trundled across the Earth for six days", so why not "the Mars"? I reckon that technically it's correct - though doesn't scan easily... yet

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Headmaster

Re: Language, language!

We give "the Earth" a definite article because 'earth' is a word with many meanings, and so in a sentence the definite article is required to impart the gravitas - there is earth everywhere, but of the Earth, there is only one.

This isn't required with Mars - there is only one Mars (unless you got a Mars Duo) - so it is fine to say "The rover drove across Mars".

You wouldn't say "The rover drove across the London" or "The rover drove across the France". You would say "The rover drove across the UK" because 'UK' is a plural collection, but you wouldn't say "The rover drove across the England".

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Re: Language, language!

and i saw linguistic as el regs unit of measurement, not the actual meaning of the word

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Happy

Re: Language, language!

@Tom 38

Thank you for that explanation sir, I nominate you as today's cunning linguist.

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Coat

Re: Language, language!

Yes, but the rover might have driven across the Ukraine during the Soviet era...

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Re: Language, language!

Tellus* more.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_(mythology)#In_science_and_science_fiction

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Headmaster

Re: Re: Language, language!

"Earth" is a word indicating a substance, as well as a planet. It's reasonable to say "trundle across the substance". But in that case, the word would be earth, not Earth. There is no substance-word for Martian soil as of yet.

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Pirate

Re: no substance-word for Martial soil

I propose we call it "mars"...

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Re: Language, language!

the marshhsshh....?

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