back to article Curiosity success 'paves way for Man on Mars by 2030s'

The landing of a "one ton automobile-sized piece of America" also known as the Curiosity rover on Mars today could clear the way for Man's arrival within the next 20 years. NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden said that the Curiosity mission, the sixth successful shot at the Red Planet by his organisation, could lead to human …


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  1. Refugee from Windows

    Nice one

    Good to hear it has landed safely, fingers crossed all the rest of the mission goes well.

    Pint- because they deserve it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just

    assumed all the patriotism was budget/funding inspired. In one case a speaker said explicitly that he was not going to name any of the other countries involved in the rover's instruments. OK, maybe it is almost entirely a US project (and hooray for them), but that did sound a little off to me.

  3. Captain TickTock

    Struggling US automotive industry...

    ... tries new export markets.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Struggling US automotive industry...

      At least the quality seems to have improved.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Struggling US automotive industry...

      At actual fuel prices, I'd buy a nuclear--powered car...

  4. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    WinXP vs MacOS

    Their engineers seem to have a bunch of shiny Macs, too (assuming they left the OS on it)

    Thumbs up for the good work - it was probably quite tough doing all the calculations in hogsheads/rods/etc... :)

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: WinXP vs MacOS

      and in one view there was a whole load of Sun-badged kit as well. Looks like they're picking different systems where it's appropriate to do so, which is a change from usual government procurement and perhaps why it all worked so far!

      I'll raise a glass to the next successes.

  5. Steve Evans

    Nice one...

    When I saw the Horizon program last week I gave up trying to count the number of ways this could go wrong, so well done to them for getting Curiosity onto the surface intact and the right way up!

    As for a manned landing, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they tell the boffins they need to learn to abseil! :o)

    1. RachelG

      Re: Nice one...

      humans have knees, and padding, and can auto-right themselves, and can probably just drop safely from skycrane height in mars gravity.

  6. NomNomNom

    Curiosity's laser rock weapon is cool and all but the robot itself is ridiculously slow so I am still betting it'll get flipped early into the fight by the Annihilator and I don't see how it can self-right itself so it'll be match over.

    1. Spoonsinger

      re : it'll get flipped early into the fight by the Annihilator

      Ahh, but at that point it just overloads it's little reactor.

      1. Stephen 27

        Just say'n

        I think you'll find that the reactor is a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (pedantic). While it may generate a fair bit of heat, its not going to go critical. However if you pour a little Martian water on the Lithium batteries and short them out while cracking open the reactor you should have a nice little dirty bomb to scatter your competition :-P

        The Martians won't be impressed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    As far as Remote Controlled Cars go, this is the top dog!

  8. Andy Johnson
    Thumb Up

    Lets Hope

    this one doesn't end up in a bunker too....

  9. Quinch

    "Tonight there are at least four countries who are on Mars..."

    "At least"? Is there a hitch-hiker hiding in a trunk they can't remember if they let off?

  10. Irongut

    US leadership in space

    Yet they don't have the capability to send supplies or people to their own station in near Earth orbit. Yeah great leadership guys.

    1. Joe Cooper

      Re: US leadership in space

      We just launched supplies a few weeks ago. The mission was a success. We're upgrading it to carry seven people. Soyuz'll have nothing on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US leadership in space

        The other nations' units don't need to be caught by the Canadarm. Cargo - Dragon C2 took about 1/10th of what the ESA ATV usually takes up to it, 1//8th of the Japanese HII, and about 1/5th what Soyuz usually take monthly. I am sure the food was welcome, but might need a couple of years before it is ready for people.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US leadership in space

        I am very happy that the dragon capsule was a success, but to put Soyuz down is bad form since the dragon being man rated is years away, and even then it has to be docked by an arm!!!

        The rest of the world is ahead of NASA & US private industry when it comes to space launch technology, the ESA, Japan & Russia all have automated cargo pods superior to dragon in technology, i.e. they are fully automated...

        Russia & China are the only two countries currently able to put astronauts into space..

        Nasa refused a place for China on the ISS program, I think they were embarrassed about relying on Russia...

        I think this is a great achievement, but NASA needs to acknowledge the non-US contributions to this mission a bit more openly and be more willing to co-operate.

      3. Spider

        Re: US leadership in space

        some of the replies are disappointing. With the US having to use Soyuz to get to LEO and co-operating on the ISS there was that small chance we might not carry our petty nationalistic rivalries to the stars. Idealistic I know, but we could but hope.... shame to marr such a great achievement.

        1. Subtilior

          Re: US leadership in space

          Petty nationalistic rivalries provide the impetus to get us to the stars.

          The Europeans would never have conquered the oceans if they hadn't been divided into competing nations.

        2. RegGuy1

          Re: US leadership in space

          This is a fantastic achievement, and to wrap it up in nationalistic terms an easy win for a country that goes to the polls in three months. The nationalism -- as always -- is for the home crowd, not the rest of us.

          I agree nationalism is pants, but there are far too many stupid people out there who think it's great.

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: US leadership in space

      The US has leadership?

      1. ZeroSum

        Re: US leadership in space

        They will have again soon.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous IV

    Please could you run this past me again?

    "The parts are all designed to last three times their expected working lifespan."

    No, I still can't make sense of this...

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      I ran out of stack space processing that statement

    2. The Stainless Steel Cat

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      No, "three times the initial mission length" would make sense, or "three times the expected working lifespan of the rover as a whole" maybe. Then again, the RTG powerplant's expected to last 14 years, maybe the parts are designed to last 42 years?

      1. Mr Anonymous

        Re: Please could you run this past me again?

        Well Voyager1 is around 35 years old, 11 billion miles away, it's still letting us know what it's like out there, so who knows?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Please could you run this past me again?

          How long before someone reposts that xkcd cartoon?

    3. Dom 3

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      Just in case you genuinely want an explanation... the initial mission is two years long. The parts are deisgned to last for six.

    4. ZeroSum

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      The mission objectives are planned to take 2 years. The components are expected to last longer than that.

    5. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      Alright, this is actually something I deal with on a fairly regular basis, so lets see if I can help you make sense of some of Uncle Sam's terminology. They're engineered to last longer than what the Agency expects out of them and much longer than what its budgeted for. It may be confusing to anyone who doesn't work for the Government in one of its science, engineering, intelligence or military agencies because it IS confusing.

      But Its a pretty common thing to encounter in the US Government, especially in agencies related to or descended from the Army, of which the Air Force and NASA are the two big ones.

      For instance, lets say I was issued three sets of Army Combat Uniforms a couple of years ago with a wear date of 17 Dec 2013. In a pinch they could last a couple of years longer (getting to a Clothing Issue Point during deployment can be near impossible, something the Army knows and realizes). On 17 Dec 2013 though, the uniforms would hit the end of their working/design lifespan and have already lasted much longer than their budget lifespan by a measure of years, however they will more than likely still be in one piece and within regulations, so they could still be used if I had no way of turning them in to get issued new ones.

      If you want to put an IT spin on it, the best way I can think of describing it would be the lifespan of a traditional mechanical Hard Disk Drive, in general they're engineered to last longer than the manufacturer expects, certifies and/or will warrant them to last, generally also by a measure of years.

      Yes its confusing and makes no sense, which are two things that my employer, The Government of the United States in general, excels at.

      1. Anonymous IV
        Thumb Up

        Re: Please could you run this past me again?

        Thank you! Enlightenment dawns...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please could you run this past me again?

        You obviously didn't have any of those "special" Maxtors ;)

        1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

          Re: Please could you run this past me again?

          No, I had a very "special" Seagate which I finally got my RMA for last week. It failed within a year of fairly light use.

          1. Figgus

            Re: Please could you run this past me again?

            "No, I had a very "special" Seagate which I finally got my RMA for last week. It failed within a year of fairly light use."

            Sounds like a "standard" Seagate to me, nothing special about it.

    6. Stuart 22

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      Cuts no ice in Redmond. XP dies in 2014 and any planet that dares defy MS. You have been warned

    7. Charles Manning

      Makes some sense

      MTBF and all that.

      Some parts will fail long before their expected (ie. mean) lifetime.

      As soon as a critical part fails, the whole machine fails.

      Therefore, if you want a gizzmo to survive for, say 1 year, you build it out of parts that are expected to last a lot longer.

    8. RegGuy1

      Re: Please could you run this past me again?

      Anonymous IV -- what a cool name! (Twelfth century, I believe.)

  12. The Stainless Steel Cat

    Does this mean...

    ...we'll get to hear from AmanfromMars again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does this mean...

      He may be in hiding.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Re: Does this mean...


        Nah. Rumour has it NASA just dropped a ton of SUV on him...

        1. Graham Bartlett
          Thumb Up

          Re: Does this mean...

          Cue Blondie...

          And you get in your car and you drive real far

          And you drive all night and then you see a light

          And it comes right down and lands on the ground

          And out comes a man from Mars

          And you try to run but he's got a gun

          And he shoots you dead and he eats your head

          And then you're in the man from Mars

          You go out at night, eatin' cars


          NASA should be worried.

  13. Miami Mike

    Obama didn't do this - NASA did

    Title says it ALL.

    1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: Obama didn't do this - NASA did

      NASA did it but only with George W. Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott's help, right?

    2. Andrew James

      Re: Obama didn't do this - NASA did

      Politician isn't one of the worlds best at getting vehicles and testing equipment to another planet - shock.

      Obvious statement, much?

      1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Obama didn't do this - NASA did

        He's spouting typical Republican propaganda. So I threw it back at him with three of my "favorite" Republican politicians.

        Just for reference about the time the Navy killed Usama Bin Laden there was a bunch of crap that went around on the social networks and internally on Army Knowledge Online that "Obama didn't kill Bin Laden, SEAL Team Six did", which is precisely what he's referencing.

        1. Local Group

          Re: And Wellington did not win the Battle of Waterloo. The Anglo Allied forces did.

          And the operator of the drone that took out those nasty terrorists, didn't take them out. The drone did.

  14. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I hope..

    ...that they'll drive off to where the sky-crane crashed and take a look there. It ought to have dug quite a big hole, and that will really give a good view of the sub-surface layers....


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