World Bulletin/News Desk
NASA on Friday unveiled plans for its Mars rover Curiosity's first road trip, part of a two-year quest to determine if the planet most like Earth could ever have hosted microbial life, scientists said.
The one-ton nuclear-powered robotic science lab landed in a large crater near Mars' equator on Aug. 6 to search for organic materials and other chemistry considered key to life.
The rover's primary target is Mount Sharp, a mound of layered rock three miles (5 km) high rising from the floor of Gale Crater.
Before beginning the 4.3-mile (7-km) trek to the base of Mount Sharp, a journey expected to take months, the six-wheeled Curiosity will visit a relatively nearby site named "Glenelg," which caught scientists' interest because it includes three types of terrain.
The name was selected from a list of about 100 rock formations in northern Canada. Scientists realized Glenelg was a palindrome -- a word that reads the same backward -- and particularly suited as the name for Curiosity's first destination since the rover will have to come back through the site to head to Mount Sharp.
The road trip to Glenelg depends in part on how well Curiosity cruises through the rest of its instrument checkout. Early next week, the rover will test-fire its powerful laser to pulverize a bit of bedrock uncovered by exhaust from Curiosity's descent engine.
A small telescope will then analyze the vaporized material to determine what minerals it contains.
The combined system, known as Chemistry & Camera, or ChemCam, is designed to make about 14,000 measurements throughout Curiosity's mission, said lead instrument scientist Roger Wiens, with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"There's a high-power laser that briefly projects several megawatts onto a pinhead-size spot on the surface of Mars," Wiens said. "It creates a plasma, or a little ball of flame or spark."
The telescope, which can observe the flash from up to about 25 feet (7 meters) away, then splits the light into its component wavelengths.
Scientists use that information to determine chemical composition.
Travel to Glenelg, located about 1,600 feet (500 meters) away from Curiosity's landing site, should take a month or longer, depending on how many stops scientists decide to make along the way.
"Probably we'll do a month worth of science there, maybe a little bit more," lead mission scientist John Grotzinger told reporters during a conference call on Friday. "Sometime toward the end of the calendar year, roughly, I would guess then we would turn our sights toward the trek to Mount Sharp."
Fears brewing in financial hub that further moves by government to censor content could scare foreign SME away.
Samsung's share slipped to 46 percent after hovering around 60 percent for five months.
He cited Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat as examples of online communication channels which were difficult for intelligence agencies to access.
Obama's proposal includes measures to allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, computer networks linked to cybercrime, and would give courts the power to shut down those responsible for distributed denial of service attacks.
Hackers posted threats and contact information of US military personnel.
Researchers said the antibiotic, which has yet to be trialled in humans, could one day be used to treat drug-resistant infections caused by the superbug MSRA, as well as tuberculosis
For the first time, frogs have been seen giving birth to tadpoles.
A hacker activist group known as Lizard Squad said it was responsible for the PSN outage as well as delays on Microsoft's Corp's Xbox network; Microsoft quickly fixed the problem.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government wants to bring 1 million battery-powered vehicles onto the roads of Europe's largest economy by the end of the decade.
North Korea experienced Internet problems last weekend and a complete outage of nearly nine hours before links were largely restored on Tuesday.
#ICantBreathe and #IAmMikeBrown are the two top trending social media hashtags of the year.
The vehicle is the first one that marries the automobile functionality and software engineering into one working car. It will be tested in 2015.
Spanish news publishers want government to negotiate with Google.
The Russian space station Mir, launched by the Soviet Union in 1986, operated until 2001 and President Vladimir Putin is now seeking to reform Russia's once-pioneering space industry
Google's action caps a decade of acrimony with news publishers who blame the search giant for revenue and readership declines
Top climate envoy gives broad support for global deal but says country's "special circumstances" must be factored.