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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  1. Andus McCoatover

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

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

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

      1. bobbles31

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

  2. The Axe

    Bobak Ferdowsi

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

    1. Tom Samplonius

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        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.

        1. mike2R

          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".

          1. Vic

            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.


        2. Bear Features

          Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

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

        3. Tom 38 Silver badge

          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!

        4. The Axe


          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.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bobak Ferdowsi

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

        6. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          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.

        7. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          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.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Hyphenated Americans

            Go to Michigan, plenty of Dutch-Americans.

        8. Stevie Silver badge

          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.

          1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

            Re: Bobak Ferdowsi


            "You're British. Act like it."

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

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              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.


      3. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Jonathon Green
          Thumb Up

          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 :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

  3. corestore

    Mohawk my arse!

    That's a belter cut!


    1. cosymart

      Re: Mohawk my arse!

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

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      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?)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... 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?

    1. E Haines

      Re: Shirley...

      No, because that would get contaminants all over everything.

  5. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

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

    1. raving angry loony

      Reverse mohawk

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

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great pics

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

    1. thejackle

      Re: Great pics

      The rocket or the Greek god?

  7. Tank boy

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

  8. Ian Chard
    Thumb Up

    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'.

  9. Richard Scratcher
    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.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      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?

    2. Psyx

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        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?

        1. John A Blackley

          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.

          1. Jan 0 Silver badge

            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.


            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.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            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?)

    3. Usually Right or Wrong

      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'.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    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?

  11. Emilio Desalvo

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

  12. Tom 38 Silver badge


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

  13. shade82000
    Thumb Up

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

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

  14. TheUglyAmerican

    Really cool but...

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

  15. Stevie Silver badge


    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!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on...

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

  17. mhenriday

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

    you neglected the really vital story, which can be found here : 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....


  18. I sound like Peter Griffin!!


    That I was the first to realise that Mohawk Guy looks like Cesc Fabregas!!!!

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