• Less Than a Week Remains Before NASA’s Biggest Rover Yet Lands on Mars

    NASA’s newest Mars rover is less than a week away from its high-stakes landing on the surface of the Red Planet.

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover is scheduled to touch down on Mars at 10:30 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:30 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT, 0530 GMT). The car-size robotic explorer is designed to investigate whether Mars is, or ever was, capable of hosting microbial life.

    With six days to go until Curiosity arrives at the Red Planet, project managers are bracing themselves for what NASA calls the riskiest part of the mission: the rover’s harrowing descent through the Martian atmosphere to the ground.

    ohn Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, took part in a news briefing on July 16 to discuss the MSL mission. He called Curiosity’s landing “risky business.”

    “The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA robotic mission ever attempted in the history of exploration of Mars, or any of our robot exploration,” Grunsfeld said.

    When Curiosity reaches Mars, the 1-ton rover will be lowered to the surface by a rocket-powered sky crane. This complex contraption will help slow the spacecraft’s speed from roughly 13,200 mph (about 21,250 kilometers per hour) to zero in only seven minutes. This sequence of events is officially known as entry, descent and landing, but its nail-biting nature has earned it the nickname “seven minutes of terror.”

    This type of unprecedented landing was selected because Curiosity is much larger than any previous rover that has been sent to the Red Planet. Curiosity’s sheer size ruled out the possibility of orchestrating an airbag-assisted landing.

    Full article: http://www.space.com/16804-mars-rover-curiosity-landing-next-week.html

  • Man sentenced to jail for collecting rainwater in Oregon

    An Oregon man is expected to spend a month in jail after being convicted on nine misdemeanor charges related to his illegal use of…water. Gary Harrington was sentenced after being found guilty of illegally collecting water on his own rural property.

    Harrington, of Eagle Point, Oregon, has been fighting for his right to do what he wishes with water since 2002. Now more than a decade after he first defended himself over allegations that the man-made ponds on his 170 acres of land violated local law, Harrington has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars and fined over $1,500.

    Authorities say that Harrington broke the law by collecting natural rain water and snow runoff that landed on his property. Officials with the Medford Water Commission contested that the water on Harrington’s property, whether or not it came from the sky, was considered a tributary of nearby Crowfoot Creek and thus subject to a 1925 law that gives the MWC full ownership and rights. Therefore prosecutors were able to argue in court — successfully — that three homemade fishing and boating ponds in Harrington’s backyard violated the law.

    For filling “three illegal reservoirs” on his property with runoff water, Harrington has been convicted on nine misdemeanor charges in Circuit Court. He says he will attempt to appeal, but as long as the conviction stands to serve 30 days of imprisonment. He has also been sentenced to an additional three years of probation.

    Full article: http://rt.com/usa/news/rain-water-harrington-oregon-439/

  • Ron Paul Revolution Follows Romney To Poland

    Poland is one of many countries outside the U.S. that, despite never having Paul on any ballots, have Ron Paul contingents. The main website, RonPaul.pl, includes information about Ron Paul’s campaign, primary dates, even the curren time in Texas, where Paul is from. The banner: “Kim jest Ron Paul?” (”Who is Ron Paul?”)

    Google Ron Paul :)