Mars Rover Curiosity Lands ‘Flawlessly’ On Red Planet

NASA’s rover Curiosity successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on Mars early Monday, transmitting images back to Earth after traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space to explore the red planet.

“This is a stunning achievement. The engineering went flawlessly,” said Scott Hubbard, who was the first Mars program director at NASA headquarters and is now a consulting professor at Stanford University. Some rover team specialists are analyzing the data from the landing, while others are preparing Curiosity for exploring Gale Crater, where it landed, NASA said.

The $2.6 billion Curiosity made its dramatic arrival on Martian terrain in a spectacle popularly known as the “seven minutes of terror.” This jaw-dropping landing process, involving a sky crane and the world’s largest supersonic parachute, allowed the spacecraft carrying Curiosity to target the landing area that scientists had meticulously chosen. The mission control in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory burst into cheers as the rover touched down Monday morning. Team members hugged and high-fived one another as Curiosity beamed back the first pictures from the planet, while some shed tears.

At the news conference, NASA showed off some of the initial images, including one of Mount Sharp, which rises 3.4 miles above the floor of the Gale Crater, according to NASA. Scientists cannot tell yet how easy it will be to scoop up the surface material. The initial images the SUV-size rover sent back to Earth were black and white and grainy, but one showed its wheel resting on the stony ground, and the vehicle’s shadow appeared in another.

The spacecraft had been traveling away from Earth since November 26 on a journey of about 352 million miles (567 million kilometers), according to NASA. Curiosity, which will be controlled from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has a full suite of sophisticated tools for exploring Mars. The aim of its work is “to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms,” NASA said.

What interesting stuff could Curiosity discover in Mars? Is Curiosity’s successful landing a sign that space exploration will soon be back to full throttle  soon?

Source: CNN

Image: The Blog is Mine

5 Cooking Mistakes We Always Commit

Every cook, being human, errs, bungles, botches, and screws up in the kitchen once in a while but the smart cook aims to prevent such creativity from being necessary. Here are some common cooking mistakes:

1. You don’t taste as you go.

Result: The flavors or textures of an otherwise excellent dish are out of balance or unappealing. For most cooks, tasting is automatic, but when it’s not, the price can be high. Recipes don’t always call for the “right” amount of seasoning. Your palate is the control factor.

2. You don’t read the entire recipe before you start cooking.

Result: Flavors are dull, entire steps or ingredients get left out. A wise cook approaches each recipe with a critical eye and reads the recipe well before it’s time to cook. Follow the pros’ habit of gathering your mise en place―that is, having all the ingredients gathered, prepped, and ready to go before you turn on the heat.

3. You make unwise substitutions in baking.

Result: You wreck the underlying chemistry of the dish. Substitutions are a particular temptation, and challenge, with healthy cooking. When it comes to baking, this is as much science as art.

4. You boil when you should simmer.

Result: A hurried-up dish that’s cloudy, tough, or dry. A bubble breaks the surface of the liquid every second or two. More vigorous bubbling than that means you’ve got a boil going. And the difference between the two can ruin a dish.

5. You overheat chocolate.

Result: Instead of having a smooth, creamy, luxurious consistency, your chocolate is grainy, separated, or scorched. The best way to melt chocolate is to go slowly, heat gently, remove from the heat before it’s fully melted, and stir until smooth. It’s very easy to ruin chocolate, and there is no road back.

Source: Cooking Light

Image: How to Do Things