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Mars Rover/Mission Thread: Following Our Curiosity


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#1 Sharpshooter

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:44 PM

*
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8 Months In Space...7 Minutes To The Bottom.



At 1:31 a.m. EDT Monday, 6 August, the world will be holding its collective breath, waiting to hear that NASA's latest and greatest Mars rover has safely landed. Much will be at stake. If Curiosity survives its “Seven Minutes of Terror,” slowing from 21,240 kilometers per hour to a dead stop on the surface, it will demonstrate a brand new and downright scary-looking system for delivering heavy loads precisely where scientists want them.





Once on the surface, the biggest, most sophisticated robot ever delivered to another planetary body can take on its primary mission: searching out environments of ancient Mars that life could have inhabited. And not incidentally, Curiosity will be looking for signs that life was indeed around back then. It might even get a whiff of present-day life, if it's there and spewing methane.


'The Grand Entrance'.





'The Mission'





Go here for a live chat at 12p.m. PST( 3p.m. EDT)on Thursday, 2 August, when we talk with two experts on the Curiosity rover and what it might find on Mars: http://news.sciencem...ver-arrive.html


Watch a recent NASA briefing about the mission details by the project scientists and managers:

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl


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On Sunday night starting at 10pm, watch 'The Landing' here:

Live Stream of Landing (commentary and interviews.): http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl
Live Stream of Landing (uninterrupted footage with mission audio): http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2


Stick around and feel free to talk Mars, the mission, the Rover, or anything else related.

Happy Landings.

Edited by Sharpshooter, 06 August 2012 - 06:24 PM.

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#2 Watermelons

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:59 PM

I came into this thread expecting something along the lines of a country-wide internet blackout <_<

Edited by monkeydluffy, 02 August 2012 - 12:00 AM.

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#3 ChenWei91

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:22 AM

I came into this thread expecting something along the lines of a country-wide internet blackout <_<


Oh man...

If there was a country-wide internet blackout...

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#4 Armada

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:45 AM

Exciting news. Wonder what we'll find now
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#5 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:06 AM

Exciting news. Wonder what we'll find now


Hopefully proof of life.
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#6 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:33 AM

I wish we put more of our resource's into endeavours such as this .
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#7 Super19

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:34 AM

Curiosity's a good name for this Rover. I like it. Godspeed.
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#8 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:38 AM

Aust to play key role in Mars landing


Wednesday, August 01, 2012 » 03:12pm

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Australia will play a key role in the historic Mars landing by NASA rover next week, due to land on Monday
Australia will play a key role in the historic Mars landing by a NASA rover next week.
The vehicle named Curiosity - a mobile laboratory about the size of a Mini Cooper carrying the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars - is due to land on the red planet about 3.30pm (AEST) on Monday.
The Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla near Canberra will receive signals from the rover, backed up by the Parkes telescope and WA's New Norcia tracking station.
Managed by the CSIRO, the Tidbinbilla complex is one of three tracking stations across the globe in NASA's Deep Space Network, including facilities in Madrid, Spain and Goldstone, California.
'We have been the communications point throughout the mission and the first station to communicate with the spacecraft after launch and once it got into space on November 27 last year,' complex spokesman Glen Nagle told AAP on Wednesday.
'And we are communicating with it on its landing.
'Because Mars is in our view, Canberra is right time right place' so we will do all the coverage, using Parkes and New Norcia as spare ears.'
The rover will spend 23 months in the Gale crater, named after Sydney banker and amateur astronomer Walter Frederick Gale who studied the Mars surface in the late 1800s and believed the planet could support life.
Australian scientist Marion Anderson from Monash University helped NASA select the site for the landing.
Another scientist, Dr Penny King from Australian National University, will control instruments on the rover from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to determine the chemistry of the Martian surface.
Curiosity, which cost around $2.6 billion to develop and launch, will travel about 20km over rough terrain searching for clues to the existence of past life.
Unlike its predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, it has equipment to gather, process and distribute samples of rock and soil to onboard testing instruments.
Cameras mounted on a mast will allow the mission team to determine exploration targets and driving routes.

Edited by The Ratiocinator, 02 August 2012 - 04:40 AM.

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#9 Heretic

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 06:21 AM

Hopefully proof of life.


What are we - chopped liver? :)

That's a cool piece of technology - expensive, but cool none the less.
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#10 Stefan

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 06:49 AM

What are we - chopped liver? :)

That's a cool piece of technology - expensive, but cool none the less.

Likely.
If you haven't noticed, we have out fair share of flaws.
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#11 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:20 AM

What are we - chopped liver? :)

That's a cool piece of technology - expensive, but cool none the less.


Proof of life on Mars would be the single most amazing discovery in our species history and could have implications on what we currently know about how we got here and where we're going.

We may simply be the new kids on the block, the only kids on our block, or distant relatives. This is what Curiosity is going to try and find out for us.

Advancing human knowledge in space in priceless...and i'm sure that whatever technologies improvement or inventions for this mission will eventually find its way back to help offset the cost somewhat, and even if it doesn't....pushing the boundaries of our scientific knowledge about space and life elsewhere is a worthy investment.
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#12 Niloc009

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:36 AM

Oh man, signs of life would be amazing. Even just tiny bacteria or other microscopic organisms would be a huge discovery, one of the largest of all time. Can't wait until the results are released.
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#13 wtpasc

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 11:02 AM

Gonna be watching live from mission control on my xbox360. I'm very excited.
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#14 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 11:19 AM

Gonna be watching live from mission control on my xbox360. I'm very excited.


You may appreciate this then.

'Mars Rover Landing' Game Offered Free on Xbox Marketplace


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The NASA rover "Curiosity" is expected to land on the surface of Mars at 10:31 p.m. PDT on August 5th. Years of research and millions of dollars have been spent on a feat of astrophysical engineering that takes about seven minutes, roughly how long it takes the Rover to get from the top of Mars' atmosphere to the ground. To demonstrate the intensity and complexity of the process, NASA and Microsoft teamed up to put a Kinect game out for free on the Xbox 360 called "Mars Rover Landing." You can play it right now, though fortunately your failed attempts will not jeopardize the NASA budget further.

To play, you use your body to simulate the different challenges of the entry, decent and landing (also known as EDL). You play through phases that have you moving and balancing to line up trajectories, moving your arm to the appropriate area on the screen quickly to deploy the parachute and subsequently line up the Sky Crane landing.


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The game is designed to help educate families and kids about the importance in the mission and to inspire curiosity for those interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Give it a shot and appreciate what a truly incredible feat it must be to overcome the numerous challenges of landing on the Martian surface.







Have fun.
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#15 wtpasc

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 11:20 AM

You may appreciate this then.




Have fun.


haha! thanks, though I'm already pro at landing that little SOB
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#16 Hobble

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 03:33 PM

Awesome! If I had been at all inclined towards physics, engineering and mathematics, I would have definately loved to have gotten into this type of work!


Too bad I am stuck with genetics <_<
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#17 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 03:43 PM

Awesome! If I had been at all inclined towards physics, engineering and mathematics, I would have definately loved to have gotten into this type of work!


Too bad I am stuck with genetics <_<



Bio-engineering!

Build us some Mars compatible bodies Hobble!
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#18 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:09 PM

Mars fever: Parties planned across the globe to see if Nasa's Curiosity rover survives 'seven minutes of terror'
  • Rover scheduled to land at 5:31AM (GMT) on Monday morning
  • Scientists say they are 'cautiously optimistic'
  • Times Square will show Nasa coverage, while Google will webcast it
  • Mission will search for signs of life on the red planet's surface using a scoop to dig into the soil
By Mark Prigg
PUBLISHED: 11:21 GMT, 2 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:26 GMT, 2 August 2012
It is one of the most daring space missions ever attempted.
Early on monday morning the Curiosity rover will, if all goes according to plan, enter the martian atmosphere and begin a series of hugely complex manoeuvres to bring it gently onto the surface.
They include a radical floating 'sky crane' as part of a descent dubbed the 'seven minutes of terror'.
Scroll down for video

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Insatiable Curiosity: The rover captivating the globe in a bid to find life on the red planet
But the plucky rover won't be alone - across the globe, thousands are expected to watch online and on TV as it approaches the red planet.
Nasa has even done a deal to show it in Times Square, while space fans elsewhere are planning parties.

'In the city that never sleeps, the historic Times Square will be the place for New Yorkers to participate in this historic landing,' John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science missions, said.
When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars.'

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The landing will be shown on the big screen in Times Square
The Curiosity rover has taken the public's imagination by storm, in one of the most daring space missions ever attempted.
The rover, Curiosity, is designed to search for clues about possible past life in a crater that might once have been filled with water.
The £1.59 billion six-wheeled machine is twice as long and five times as heavy as the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity which landed on Mars in 2004.
Two British scientists are members of the team which will direct the rover and analyse the data it collects.

WHERE TO WATCH


The Times Square broadcast begins at 11:30 p.m. EDT Sunday night and runs until 4 a.m. EDT Monday morning (Aug. 6).
The exact time of landing is scheduled for 1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT (0531 GMT), though it will be late Monday night at the rover's California-based mission control room.
Nasa has a full list of US events to watch the landing here.
Dr John Bridges, from the University of Leicester Space Research Centre, one of the British scientists working on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, said: 'I’m cautiously optimistic.
'Space exploration is not for the faint hearted.
'The previous rover landing used inflatable bouncing bags. Curiosity’s just too heavy for that, so they developed the sky crane technique.'
Curiosity’s target is Gale Crater, near the Martian equator, where there are geological signs of past water.
The plan is to land close to Mount Sharp, a 5.5-kilometre peak in the centre of the crater with clay deposits around its base.
If all goes well the radio signal confirming that Curiosity has landed will arrive on Earth after a 14-minute journey through space at 06.31, UK time.
For one Martian year - 98 Earth weeks - Curiosity will explore its surroundings using its robot arm and a formidable array of scientific instruments to analyse samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground.
It also carries a laser capable of zapping rocks up to 30 feet away, vaporising tiny amounts of material in a flash of light that can be analysed to reveal chemical data.
As well carrying a stereo camera to take panoramic shots, Curiosity will be equipped with a magnifying imager that can reveal details smaller than the width of a human hair.
Geologist Professor Sanjeev Gupta, from Imperial College London, the other British scientist involved in the mission, said: 'Nasa chose Gale Crater as the landing site because it has a number of really exciting geological features that we are hoping to explore.

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Target: The known as Gale crater area where Nasa's Curiosity rover will land on August 5

'These include a canyon and what appears to be a lake bed on the floor of the crater, as well as a channel and a delta, which we think may have been carved by water.

HOW CURIOSITY WILL LAND


After entering the Martian atmosphere at 13,200mph, the capsule containing Curiosity will be slowed by friction and then a supersonic parachute.
An 'upper stage' resembling a flying bedstead will then be deployed, firing retro rockets to brake its descent.
As it hovers over the landing site, the upper stage will transform itself into a 'sky crane' and lower Curiosity to the surface on the end of a tether.
It will then break away, and deliberately crash.
'We will use the rover’s cameras, including one which is like a powerful magnifying glass, to study the geology up close.'
Dr Bridges and Prof Gupta will be based at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, during the mission.
They will be among hundreds of scientists who will work together round the clock analysing data beamed back from Curiosity, planning experiments and guiding the rover’s excursions.
Dr Bridges said a key goal is to study the clay sediments at the foot of Mount Sharp. Scientists believe they are a reminder of a time, three to four billion years ago, when there was abundant water on the surface of Mars.
'The clay layers may represent what we loosely call a warm and wet period in Martian history,' said Dr Bridges.
'On the top of the mountain the rock was deposited under dry conditions, so there was a great environmental change.
'There’s this idea that Mars was warm and wet long ago, but we don’t know how long there were standing bodies of water on Mars, whether they were short lived or lasted hundreds of millions of years.
'That’s important to the question of whether life ever existed there.
Although we’ve made enormous strides in understanding Mars over the last 10 or 20 years, there’s still a lot we don’t know.'
An Atlas V rocket carrying Curiosity blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in November.
The journey to Mars crossed 352 million miles of space.

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Nasa's Curiosity rover, which is set to land on the red planet of surface - if it survives a descent known as 'seven minutes of terror'


Hey brother, do you notice the name of the name of the mountain it is landing at the base of :)

Edited by The Ratiocinator, 02 August 2012 - 04:10 PM.

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The Real war is not between the east and the west. The real war is between intelligent and stupid people.

Marjane Satrapi

tony-abbott-and-stephen-harper-custom-da

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley.


#19 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:24 PM

Mt Sharp. :frantic:

B)
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#20 Tortorella's Rant

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:26 PM

I wish we put more of our resource's into endeavours such as this .


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#21 Hobble

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:58 PM

Bio-engineering!

Build us some Mars compatible bodies Hobble!


Haha, will do!

However, people don't like engineering in our crops, so it may take a while before the public accepts human engineering ;)
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#22 canucks since 77

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:29 PM

You can turn me be into a bug eyed tentacled monstrosity and send me to mars as long as there is a female B.E.T.M to go with me!:)
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#23 Sharpshooter

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:53 PM

You can read a live chat with

three scientists/experts in Curiosity’s mission, astrobiology, and the engineering required for landing.


Curiosity science team member Jim Bell of Arizona State University has spent decades imaging planetary bodies of every sort. Most recently, he led the panoramic camera team of Curiosity’s immediate predecessors on the martian surface, Spirit and the still-operating Opportunity.


Andy Steele of the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and the Curiosity science team trained in microbiology and draws on a range of techniques to search for traces of past life and distinguish them from non-life chemistry.


Devin Kipp is an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he has spent the past 7 years working on the design and testing of the system to slow Curiosity from 20,000 kilometers per hour and place it gently on a relatively small target area on Mars.



Read the full chat here:


http://news.sciencem...ver-arrive.html

Some interesting questions + answers from the chat:




Q: What are curiositys main goal


A:

Jim Bell:

Curiosity's official main science goal is "to explore and quantitatively assess a local region on Mars's surface as a potential habitat for life, past or present." Pretty cool.



Q: Stephen Hawking wrote in a recent book that "life, simply put, is what matter does when given the right conditions..." - Evidence of an one-time abundance of water and even oceans (http://en.wikipedia....i/Water_on_Mars) has been found in previous missions - what kind of equipment does the Curiosity mission have for searching for a fossil record of microbial life?

A:

A.Steele: Fossil life on earth can be found in several ways. From macrostructures (stromatolites for example) which could be detected by the Cameras and MAHLI (a microscope like imager). IF there are Microfossils present depending on size, they may also be viewed by MAHLI. CHemical evidence in the form of concentrations of organic molecules not predicted by simple organic chemistry will be detected by the SAM mass specotrmetry experiment. There is some question behind certain biominerals being detected by the CheMIN instrument, which will undertake definitive mineralogy measurements. All the instruments will be needed to examine the context of the samples and will aid in the detection of a life signal if present.



Q: Yes but what about CURRENT water on Mars. This would be a much more exciting discovery than finding mineral evidence of ancient water. It's pretty much well known all over and logical to think that the only other planet in the Goldilocks zone had liquid water on it at some point in its history. In the last few years a large amount of indication for liquid water present on Mars surface in 2012 has surfaced within the scientific community. The rovers could and should in my opinion be sent to investigate things like dirt flows and water locked in the regolith of the planet.


A: Jim Bell: I see, yeah different issue. Right now NASA is prevented, by so-called "Planetary Protection" rules that are part of U.N. international treaties, from targeting a place on Mars (or Europa, etc.) where there could potentially be extant life. This is in case the mission crashes and/or otherwise contaminates that area. Instead, then, we have to target nearby areas without evidence of water and rover over to the more interesting places. We could do that, but to be honest I don't personally think that the evidence for liquid water existing right on the surface of Mars is compelling or definitive enough for us to target a mission there yet. This is still the topic of lots of debate and hypothesis testing in the Mars community.



That last answer was interesting. I had no idea that we had an international policy about 'Planetary Protection' rules. Reminds me a bit of 'The Prime Directive'.

Edited by Sharpshooter, 02 August 2012 - 10:55 PM.

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#24 key2thecup

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 11:09 AM

CNET is saying this is tonight?

The space agency will begin its live coverage Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m. PT / 10:30 p.m. ET on the NASA TV site and will also show the coverage via UStream:
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#25 Armada

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:00 PM

Title correction..

Don't you mean Monday, August 6th or Sunday, August 5th

?

Too bad we won't be around for when they Terraform Mars.

Edited by Armada, 05 August 2012 - 12:01 PM.

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#26 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:41 PM

Title correction..

Don't you mean Monday, August 6th or Sunday, August 5th

?

Too bad we won't be around for when they Terraform Mars.


It's tonight at 10:30.

I'm very excited to see if the landing is successful and what the results of the mission are. The implications for past or present life on Mars are huge.
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#27 hockeyville88

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:48 PM

Wish Canada was a more active participant in Space exploration. I don't even think the CSA is recruiting right now.

But this is very cool. Till we get a man on Mars this is the next best thing to exploring it.
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#28 Slaytanic Wehrmacht

Slaytanic Wehrmacht

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:49 PM

Title correction..

Don't you mean Monday, August 6th or Sunday, August 5th

?

Too bad we won't be around for when they Terraform Mars.


This will not happen even in the next 100 years without an endless supply of dump trucks filled with flaming grant money.
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#29 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:07 PM

This thing crashes because of the martian spies in Nasa.
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#30 Sharpshooter

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:03 PM

Title correction..

Don't you mean Monday, August 6th or Sunday, August 5th

?

Too bad we won't be around for when they Terraform Mars.


Fixed.

It takes place tonight Sunday, August 5th @ approx 10:30pm PST, which is Monday August 6th 1:30am EST.
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