tv CNN Newsroom CNN August 5, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
hello, i'm john vause at the cnn arena welcome to viewers in the united states and around the world. at this hour, an incredible 570 million kilometer journey is coming to an end. nasa's rover curiosity is on final approach to mars. soon it'll be begin an extraordinary and complicated landing. something like this has never before been attempted and there
is zero room for error. about 17 minutes from now, if all goes as planned, the rover will touchdown on the martian surface. but it takes 14 minutes for a signal to travel from mars to earth, so best case scenario, confirmation will come in about 31 minutes. we expect pictures around 2 a.m. eastern. now, joining us from the laboratory in california. in moscow r where russian space officials are closely following the development and science correspondent david brodie joins us from edge water, new jersey. but first we will go to john zarrella there live in pasadena.
john, we are about to enter the period that officials are calling seven minutes of terror, where they will not know if curiosity is alive or dead. >> that's exactly right, john. this is it. they've all been using the olympic term that they have to stick this landing. as you pointed out, that this maneuver to entering the atmosphere of mars, traveling at 13,200 miles an hour, in less than ten minutes from now, they'll be hitting curiosity will be hitting the upper part of the atmosphere, traveling that speed, from that point on, it'll maneuver its way down through the atmosphere. then a parachute will deploy and following the parachute deployment, it'll be slow to even further and then another series of events has to unfold where rockets have to fire. and the heat shield comes off. and the back shell comes off. and ultimately, curiosity will be tethered down. literally a sky crane down to the surface of the red planet.
and then, that next phase of the operation is to jet san that part of the spacecraft that lowered curiosity down. and then, and only then, will it be safely on the ground bp but if any one of those things goes wrong, the mission is lost. but if curiosity gets down safely, it will be a two-year adventure to look for the building blocks of life. the grand canyon, each layer of rock represents a period of history. it is a perfect place to see how earth evolved over millions of years. on mars, if you are looking for evidence of life, you go to a very similar place called the gail crater. here, the layered rock provides a history of mars back to its first billion years. >> that period of mars history is a mystery to us. but also the most exciting history for us because that's when it was most earth like.
>> and that's when life is most likely to have developed. so gail is where nasa's curiosity rover is going, between a mountain and the crater wall. >> and we're landing right between those two and kind of the only patch of flat ground. >> can you call curiosity, the sherlock holmes of rovers, with capability to do science that's more than just elementary. >> this mission asked one of the most fundamental questions can you ask, is there life on any other planet besides earth. >> curiosity does not have the ability to detect life itself, unless life stands up and waves at curiosity's camera. but it did k detect what none of its predecessors can. the onboard lab can sniff out organic materials, like carbon, abuilding block of life. >> one of the key goals is to
look for key ingredient that life requires. water is one of the most -- one of the things we always look for on mars. >> scientists believe if water ever flowed on mars, it might have been inside gail crater. vast majority of tasks will be orchestrated by scientists on earth. but when you are 150 million miles away, there are some things curiosity might have to do on its own. >> the rover will be able to make decisions whether it can drive over an obstacle or if it needs to drive around an obstacle. >> the rover's mission is expected to last about two years. at the end of it, scientists hope to finally understand whether mars could ever have sustained life or maybe even still does. >> now, just a few minutes ago, mission control here at jet propulsion laboratory, the team handed out peanuts, which is an old tradition dating back to
1960s. missions that failed and there are many attempts before they actually passed out peanuts and on the mission they passed out peanuts. they add successful mission. so now ever since they have been handing out peanuts on these attempts. and they've been doing quite well, john. hopefully it'll be good luck for them again. i can tell you, this place is quiet now. everybody's in auditoriums watching. the science team is all gathered. mission control team. but there are 400 credentialed media here. there are hundreds of dignitaries that are here. all kinds of folks have come here for tonight's event. i've been at several other mars landings over the years and this is by far the most excited i have seen this place in many, many, many years. john? >> i can imagine you could cut the tension there with a meat axe right now. john, we've been working on this timetable, 17 minutes from now.
we expect to touchdown. 31 minutes from now, at the earliest, we are expecting some kind of confirmation. but the time scale here is much broader than that. we are talking maybe two hours, maybe eight hours. before we hear anything from curiosity. >> well we will bring in joy, the deputy and the question was, it may be a while, even after it gets on the ground, or will it? before we will hear from them. is it going to come quickly or could this drag out? >> it could drag out, unfortunately. if everything goes as expected, we will hear right way. diabout 10:31 pacific time, we should here. >> one of the reasons why, is earth is setting. yes. >> you can't hear directly from curiosity, correct? so you are going to be signals are going to be relayed back through other orbiters. >> through odyssey, yes. >> that's other orbiting spacecraft, through odyssey.
>> that's correct. >> if they don't hear from it on that pass then you got to wait until odyssey comes back around. >> correct. >> how long will that be? an hour and half, two hours? >> probably a couple hours. >> so we might have to -- >> might have to wait. i hope not. >> i assume everybody hopes that you hear right away. >> right. >> then, all of the anxiety is over. >> that's true. >> what about you? >> six years. so real emotional today and working hard to get everything ready, even things at home, like filling up car with gas and going to get your groceries and everything is set. now just three or four minutes before it reaches the top of the alt moss fear. >> and then -- >> then we have the seven minutes. >> of terror. >> and it all begins. >> yeah.
>> john? >> we are keeping a very close eye on the clock becauset is 17 minutes past the hour when we hope we get some kind of information that curiosity has actually successfully landed on the surface of mars. let's talk more about this actual mission for curiosity once it does touchdown. assuming it goes according to plan. dave brodie is a science correspondent for space.com. he joins me now, from edge water in new jersey. dave, it is good for you to be with us. we appreciate it very much. in very broad terms, what is the mission for curiosity? >> well, we're attempting to tell more of this water story on mars. mars looks like a place where a lot of water flowed for a very long time along time ago. and we want it know why it isn't there any more and if it was there long enough, did life form on mars? curiosity is not specifically going to be able to tell you whether or not life formed, but
it'll look for the tell-tale signs of former life in the form of organic compounds. complex organic compounds. something as organic, if it contains carbon and burns. that doesn't mean life. but as you get more and more complex organic molecules, well, that is a pretty good indicator of life. so curiosity will be looking for that. why do we want to know if there is life on mars? first of all, it is just a burning question. but more importantly, we would like to know why it is that the two planets around us, venus on one side and mars on the other, don't seem to be doing as well as earth does yet all three are in what's called a habitable zone. not too hot, not too cold, for water to flow an watter cycle. and perhaps, life to form. other thing we need to know about, life, if it is some day discovered on mars, is, does it have the same dna that earthly
life does? if it does, that's profound, because that means that it could be the life rose on mars perhaps and came to earth or rose on earth and came to mars. because of the dynamics of early solar system, it is easy to believe it started there and came here, rather than the other way around. or did life come and see both planets. that's if it had the same dn that we do. if it doesn't have the same dn a or is life or was life living now on mars, that's even more profound. that means that two little planets, right next to each other, independently formed life. and if that's true, then life by logical extension is probably ubiquitous throughout the universe. lots and lots of life everywhere. so big questions, some of which we may get the beginnings of the answers to from curiosity and from its precursor missions. the mars exploration rovers. spirit and opportunity. opportunity is still functioning
onmars. those guys told us an awful lot about this water story. so the water story continues. >> okay. >> dave, we got a big night ahead of us. we o would like you to hang about us for the rest of the hour, maybe longer, as we keep a close eye on this mission to mars. please stand by. we will get more information about curiosity and how it is following in the foot steps of other s successful missions to mars. some include those in the 1960s. fly-by missions to snap scores of missions by the planet. one was in 1975, viking 1, dave mentioned that. viking 2 sent back 16,000 images, as well as data. as technology improved, nasa sent spacecraft to orbit mars for longer studies. like the mars global surveyor in 1996 and mars reconnaissance
orbiter in 2005 which transmitted back to earth more than 2,000terra bits of data. more than the other mars missioned combined. a new generation rover, spirit and opportunity, landed in 2004. and they have taken plor than a hundred thousand images, countless details about the minerals on mars and opportunity is still roving the martian surface today. new, we will take a short break here on world report. again, we are continuing to keep a close eye on the situation of the jpl in pasadena. but, we will also have a story on the future of recycling in china and why it cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends. i have a great fit with my dentures. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free -- it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles.
wisconsin, friends and family came together in a park for t.o. remember the victims mafs shooting at a sikh temple. the attack happened at oak creek just outside milwaukee. ted rollins reports, authorities are treating the incident as domestic terror. >> reporter: investigators will spend the night combing not only the scene at the temple but also the suspect's home where they served a search warrant earlier this evening. they say they are looking for any information about this man they describe as being in his
40s. they have not been able to connect the suspect to the temple at all. none of the witnesses recognized him by sight or according to witnesses, by name. what we do know is that he walked into this temple about 10:30 in the morning and started firing. apparently saying nothing to his victims before opening fire with a 9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun. investigators say that's about all they know so far about the suspect. >> white male, approximately 40 years of age. and that's all we have as far as his motive and we are long away from that right now. and as i said, this is still very fluid with this -- with the warrants being served right now at his residence and scene still being processed. there's a lot of interviews that need it take place with witnesses from inside the temple and so forth. and it is just a reconstruct the crime scene and in the time line of this is still aways off.
>> seven people have been confirmed dead. one of the injuries was the first police officer on scene, who according to investigators, was ambushed by the shooter. shot multiple times. that officer has been in and out of surgery here in the milwaukee area, throughout the evening. he is expected to survive. another officer with him at the time is the one that shot and killed the suspect in the parking lot of the temple. again, no link has been connected between the suspect and this temple. and investigators say it is going to be a long night here, both at the suspect's home and at the temple processing the two crime scenes. i'm ted rowlands, reporting from oak creek, wisconsin. >> and 17 minutes past the hour. let's go back to jpl just outside pasadena, california. john zarrella is there to find out if everything is going according to plan. curiosity should be touching down on the surface of mars.
one person described this as the super bowl, on the one yard line with one play left. how is it looking? >> reporter: that's exactly right. the reset for the viewers, this is the most complicated landing attempt ever by nasa with a spacecraft o on mars. they today do it because curiosity is so big. you can see behind me, about the size after small car, about 2,000 pounds. before they encased rovers on air bags. bounce on the surface, then come to the stand still, the air bags would deflate and you could wo have these great little rover tlaes could come right off the landers and take off. this thing is way too big for that. they today come up with this incredible set of maneuvers and pyrotechnics to get curiosity on the ground. and joy crisp is with me, deputy project scientist. and joy, good news, they were
getting what they call heart beats. what does that tell us? >> we are getting tones from the spacecraft as it is coming down. not super complicated data but just signals, letting the team now how it doing as it ge goes through the steps of edl, entry, decent and landing. >> so it is doing well on its decent to the surface. >> that's right. it is heading through the atmosphere of mars. >> because of that time delay, would it be on the ground by now and we just don't flow it? >> yes, it would. >> it would? >> it is kind of amazing. >> is. so right now, as far as you are concerned, this is a hurry up and wait. >> right. it happened but it hasn't happened in our minds yet. we have to wait and see how it procee proceeds. >> we have animation that nasa team put together yesterday that shows how the communications are going to be taking place because you have actually two orbiting satellites up there.
>> right. >> you've got the odyssey, right? and then the recon since orbiter. >> then those two are how you're -- will be communicating back to earth. >> that's correct. and the entry of edl, is kau coming through odyssey. what we call the bent pike, is coming straight toward us, rather than orbited, recorded and sent down later. >> this is as realtime data as you can get. >> yes. this is what we were hoping for is that odyssey would rotate and be able to do this bend pipe for us and let us know right now, and let us know what was happening. >> so just a few more minutes to wait. probably ten or 11 more minutes. hopefully we will know definitively, if curiosity is on the ground, on mars.
150 plus million miles away. >> and john, once it's there, it will start getting to work pretty much straight away, collecting samples, yes? >> no, no, no. it will not. what they will do -- we will get images pretty quickly. we will get thumbnail images, they call them. the first one will be an image of one of the wheels. >> one caveat. >> one caveat? >> it depends on when -- when exactly we land. because we don't know the characteristics of the atmosphere. we don't know when exactly oddly will be communicating. so we may or may not get those initial images. so we might get a few thumb nails but we're not sure. >> we're not sure. >> they might not even get the pictures. but to answer your questions, it'll take about three weeks of check-out of the vehicle, before they actually get down to the science. but once they do, it is a two-year mission. so a lot of time to find all those signatures, hopefully of
life that once existed or perhaps still does. on mars. >> okay. >> and again, john and joy, we appreciate you both being with us. and please stay with us a little longer. watch world report. we are keeping a close eye on curiosity, which should now be on the surface of mars. we are awaiting confirmation in a moment. but more, after a short break.
just outside los angeles in california, as the curiosity rover is now, we believe, on the surface of mars, still waiting for confirmation of that. we are watching and waiting here at cnn. we have john zarrella at jpl there is pasadena. we also have phil black who is in moscow because the russians are playing a significant role in this mission. and they have a lot of experience at sending probes to mars. a lot of it successful. but let's go back to john at jpl. john, any more heart beat? any more signs of life, if you like? >> yeah, you know, what you're going to do with this vehicle when they talk about looking for
the, you know, the signs of life, they are getting these little bleeps right now from curiosity. that it's alive. but now as we are watching images here, it is still very quiet. they are all in great anticipation. waiting as everybody is, for that signal to be relayed back to earth, that says, hey, i'm here. and i'm alive. and i'm well on the surface. and it is still going to be a few minutes, john, before we have that first confirmation and as we were talking earlier, it even could be quite a bit longer than that if the things don't align just right. >> i make it just about six minutes, hopefully, before we get some indication from curiosity. john, thank you for that. let's go to phil black who is standing by at cnn in moscow. and phil, the russians are actually contributing to this mission and they have a lot of experience, and not a lot of it
good wl good, when it comes to sending probes it mars. >> john, on this particular mission, their involvement is specific. it relates to the science and exploration phase of the mission. the rover is carrying an instrument that is being supplied by the russian space agency. it will be used to detect and measure hydrogen beneath the surface. the possible presence of hydrogen would indicate the possibility there could be water or ice beneath the surface. that their involvement there. you are right in saying that rush why's experience under getting to mars, or trying to get to mars, is considerable. they know just how difficult it is to stage a mission like this. they've been trying to do it, well for some deblg aides, now. it was a long standing priority of the soviet space mission to explore the red planet. they had some successes. they had more failures. and post soviet union, there were two significant attempts to get there as well. both were unsuccessful. the most recent in november last
year, the spacecraft was designed to travel the furtherest moon of mars, land, collect a sample from the ground there, and then return to earth. it was hugely ambitious. it had been years in the planning. but the failure was really quite embarrassing. it was not long after take off that the spacecraft failed. it never escaped the earth's lower orbit and eventually some months later fell back to earth and broke up on reentry. but russia has not given up on getting back to mars. it is planning future missions already. one of which with european space agency. >> sure. phil, we are going to jpl. there are some developments there. we can see some very excited nasa engineers at mission control. john zarrella is at jpl within mission control there, just outside pasadena, california. john, what are they saying? >> reporter: you know, because we have this 14-minute delay in transmissions coming back, they
are just now getting transmissions of things that already happened 14 minutes ago. so i'm going to bring joy crisp back in. joy, what are we hearing? i just heard them say, the right on line with the target. >> right. the part that's going to make this evening very pleasant is that we have data coming from odyssey. so -- report that's the orbiting spacecraft. >> we will get to hear all of the steps of entry decent and landing. >> reporter: so the link between curiosity and odyssey is up and running and coming back to us on earth. so everything that is happening, that happened already, that we are just hearing now, is things you might not have known, if you didn't have this -- >> we don't have to wait for later, hearing it come through the recording. >> reporter: we will know in a matter of a couple of minutes now john, whether all of the pyrotechnics, all of this incredible landing maneuver that they are attempting for the first time, is a success.
just a couple minutes away now i would assume. is that about right, joy? >> say it again. >> reporter: a couple minutes away. >> yes. >> reporter: john? >> the thing that i found different from this mission compared to other missions. >> straighten up to fly right now. >> we are talking about a rover which is nuclear powered. if it is successful could continue to explore the surface of mars, not just for the two years, which is the expected life of this mission, but for much longer. >> parachute, deployed. >> reporter: i want to interrupt you there. parachute deployed. now they will slow down to about 200 miles an hour on that parachute. >> yeah. >> reporter: then comes the big event. the sky crane of that. but what you were saying was, and yes, they have an rtg powering this. that radio active nuclear generator.
a lot of the me can cal stuff probably won't last that long, john. but yeah, at least two years and could last well beyond two years. what is this? wait a minute, john. acquired to ground with the radar. they have acquired the ground with the radar. which means they are on the next phase is -- which means curiosity's radar is now bouncing back off of the martian surface to give it the height, elevations, right? >> yes. >> reporter: so they are coming down now. very close to landing on the surface of mars. john? >> so essentially, this probe, this rover, has travels at 13,000 miles per hour to virtually zero, and slowed in seven minutes. >> they expect to lose the communication directly to earth at about this time. late on the parachute. >> reporter: it was late on the
pair shoulparachute? >> that is when it should have occurred so this is normal. >> reporter: they lost the link? >> i think the direct link. we are still on odyssey. >> reporter: okay. we are still on odyssey. sooty's -- there is painful almost, john, to sit here and just wait and wait an these seconds tick. a signal from odyssey is still strong. still getting that direct link back. >> yeah, still hearing it. >> reporter: the pyrotechnics, now -- >> where are we now where we should be hearing something? >> reporter: yeah, they fired the thrusters. 500 meters in altitude. how close is that. >> 1500 feet. >> reporter: let's listen to ground control.
curiosity is on the surface of mars. how you feel beiing, joy? a lot of joy? >> very joyful. >> reporter: can you see the team at mission control there. what a spectacular series of events. in essence we were able to watch it sort of live, all unfolding before our eyes. even not seeing the real pictures, what drama here at jet propulsion laboratory here under pasadena. hugs and tears everywhere. >> odyssey remaining strong. >> good signal so we can get pictures. >> telemetry. >> data from mars coming in. >> stand by for images. >> see if we get any images. >> waiting for images. >> waiting for images now. >> we might get images pretty quickly here, john.
>> these will be the first black and white images, pretty grainy and not very clear, right? >> that's correct. >> the has cam as they call it, taking the first images, has dust covers over it because of the dust that they are flinging up as the vehicle came down, right, joy? >> right. >> reporter: the first couple images, if in fact we see them, will be blurry, right? >> maybe. they could be clear. they could be clear. >> reporter: but tle could be clear. >> yeah. >> reporter: late fler in the morning, dust covers will be removed, they will take pictures and they'll be crisper images from the surface of mars. if we get the pictures, first two, the first one, mission manager, john, will be the wheel, one of the wheels. >> rear wheel. >> reporter: is that an image we are looking at? >> oh, wow. >> reporter: there's your first image from the surface of mars.
from the curiosity rover. can't see it, but it's there. . >> you know, john, what has to be said -- >> that is a fish-eye lens. >> when we get these images back, i didn't mean to cut off joy. she was describing what we were seeing just tlen. but just how difficult this entire landing really was. they never tested this before. >> you can see part of the wheel. >> reporter: that's absolutely right. they tested every single aspect of this landing in the best ways they could. using helicopters. using wind tunnel testing. you know, they did the sky crane testing. everything was tested. but they couldn't test everything together. and they certainly couldn't test everything, you know, on mars. so this in essence, this was the test. it is not only the test. this is a testament to this incredible, incredible team out
here and all around the world. there is 400 people on this team. you know, scientist and engineers, from all over the world. but you know, a testament to the ability of these people and that is through the fish-eye lens, right, joy? >> right. and 64 by 64 pixel image after small thumbnail. we will wait later, we will get bigger versions of those. >> reporter: but that is the rear wleel of the surface. >> we can tell, we are seeing the wheel and horizon with the fish-eye lens. it makes a bowed -- the same cameras on spirit and opportunity but mounted up much higher off the ground. >> reporter: and the second image we hope to see, would be one from the same has cam, but looking out the front? >> actually, you might see from the left, so their right and left, then we see the front after that. but we're not sure. we were not sure how many images we would get tonight. >> reporter: any image says
great news. >> it is. >> reporter: john, back to you. >> sure, john. what we would like to do now is listen in to the excitement and this moment this molt at j propulsion laboratories. >> he we might get more. >> yes, 256. high rez. you see dust particles on the window. you can see the horizon there in the background. and there is -- there is the wheel of the rover safely on the surface of mars. i can't believe this. this is unbelievable. we will have two more of these images from the other side of the vehicle and also probably dusty. this is amazing.
so that is one of cure curiosities rover wheels on the surface of mars. >> oh, this is from another direction. >> reporter: we have been watching the scene live at jet propulsion laboratory live in california. as engineers and scientists and mission control celebrate what has, at least for the time being, been a very successful start to this mission. no one knew they could do it. all pretty much untested. but it does appear to be successful. curiosity is on mars. sending back photos and john you are there with joy crisp, deputy project scientist. she must be amongest all of those other people there, incredibly happy right now. >> reporter: joy, the question
was, you must be incredibly happy. i'm sure you would be much happier if you were in there celebrating with them. but we thank you for being out here with us. what are you feeling right now? a lot of years have gone into this for you. >> a lot of years. my whole mind is transitioning now to, okay, what's coming up in weeks, months and years here. it'll be very challenging. but really exciting to see what mars tells us about its past. >> reporter: and working on mars' schedule. >> you have to become a martian. >> reporter: and for the next couple of years, everybody on the science team are going to be martians, that's for sure. but i'm sure it hasn't quite sunk in yet. >> it hasn't. >> reporter: were you confident? did you think -- >> i don't know. i had mixed feelings. i kind of can't belief it. i worked on pathfinder, spirit and opportunity. and every time you get those first pictures, it is amazing, that it made it, it is in tact,
it works. >> reporter: nasa add good track record. >> john, i have to interrupt you for a moment. i want to go back to -- oh, we don't have david brodie. john, so much has to be riding on this. no real back up, no real space -- other space program in the works. this was it. and there is a lot of hope in nasa that if this is successful, it may spur a lot more interest for a very cash-strapped u.s. government to continue on with mars exploration. >> you know, we have talked a lot that so much was riding on this mission. mars exploration. no big missions down the pike right now, that this could spur, you know, more mars exploration success of this. and the failure if it happened, it could have had the opposite
effect. >> that's true. for everybody working on it and a whole lot of effort that we put into it, we wanted it to work. so for us personally, he add lot of stake. >> you knew the pressure was on. >> the pressure was on. but personally, it is -- it comes down to all of the effort that you put into it and that you see all of your friends putting into it. it also has pay off for kids with science and technology. so that's a really big important part of this to inspire kids. >> when you see the successful missions like this, it helps breed the interest that joy pointed out, in science. in engineering, in mathematics, all of those things. all of those things that every one of those people in the control room have and that the next generation will certainly need to have. that's an important thing to keep, you know, the flow of brain power going.
>> in looking at images, jpl, mission control, and successful touchdown by rover, curiosity, biggest spacecraft to be sent to mars surface, traveling the surface, climbing mountains, collecting samples. in a couple of weeks it'll take the samples and look for the building blocks of life. trying to find carbon on the planet mars. and we are watching the situation with a lot more on this story. but right now, i would like it take a short break. bored with your one trick lipstick? then lead a double life! with blast flipstick from covergirl. creamy color on one end, shimmery color on the other. so you can flip your look from demure, to daring. blast flipstick from covergirl.
phenomenal transition completed. >> and welcome back to world report. nasa's curiosity lands on the surface of mars to begin exploration for the basic building blocks of life. it is a very exciting mission control. successfully landing on mars. having never using techniques which have never really been tested before. now let's go back to john zarrella who has been there for this moment. he was there in the build-up to it. he is there right now. and john, of course, now comes, i guess, the hard part's over.
now comes kind of the difficult work, if you like. >> yeah. and you know, we haven't really talked much about the fact that where they landed and adam stalsnor, the entry, decent and landing chief, he said, we are landing between a rock and a hard place. of course what he meant was, they are landing in this crater. one side you have a crater wall. and in the middle, have you this giant mountain called mount sharp. they had to put the curiosity down right in between there. and they went to this spot because this is the spot where they believed, and joy i will bring you in, where you believe sthir their water may have been on the surface there many eones ago and because of that kraut crater wall, you can look back under time at the different layers of martian history. >> in the mountain, actually. in the wall, there was material
that shed off the side of the wall that water brought down. that's interesting. then in the mountain, layer upon layer for three and half miles, stack of different ages of rocks with clay minerals at the bottom and sulfate minerals higher up. >> as you look at that, you are looking -- you will be able to see a period in mars history when it was -- >> wetter. >> wetter, like us. >> yes. >> more earth like. >> that's what we think. we want it find out by interrogating those rocks and seeing if there was a change in the environmental conditions as you move up and find sulfate minerals. >> so john, what you might have is, you know, an ability to find out what went wrong on mars. why did mars turn out the way it did? and why are we the way we are? and that's one of the things that they may be able to at least start to get answers on. and new we are getting a lot of the people who gather here it watch, and they are all coming out, excited. and you know, we may try to grab somebody if we find somebody
else coming over here like nasa administrator, charlie bolden, here as well as science adviser for the white house. who was here. john? >> yeah, it is an exciting day when you think have you been successful in getting the curiosity on mars because, let's face it, you are about to add to the sum total knowledge of mankind. and this has been such an incredibly difficult mission. let's talk today, brodie, on space.com, joining us once again from new jersey. and sending probes to mars is notoriously difficult. one-third of the missions succeeded. the rest failed. u.s. had a lot of success, but not like this before. >> no, not at all. what is great is that we keep pushing the envelope. not to honk a horn of the united states, humanity is pushing the envelope. we are doing, as nasa speaks of this mission, we are daring mighty things. and you know, that is what we should do. because we have to remember who we are. you know, 800,000 million years
ago, there were probably folks in north africa who said, no, don't go over that next mountain. you know, don't cross that river. we don't really need to go there. we are just fine right here. don't need to know much more. those folks are not our ancestors. we are the descendant of the ones who left. we are the ones who are eternally curious who tried to cross the river and invented technology to get across to the other side that was safer than swimming. and curiosity, the rover, is the direct descend enaant, if you w of that technology. i'm glad we were able to do it tonight and do it successful. >> so what is the bottom line? what is the best outcome here for what curiosity could discover? >> it is always dangerous, particularly when talking about another plan tote speculate, on what you could find. because you know, mars has
always surprised us, consistently. from the ancient astrastronomer looking at it to present day. we keep asking, mars, do you have life and mars keeps saying, can you repeat the question? so what we will find out with curiosity, is, does mars have dpleks complex organic molecules. but there is something else seeping into space.com viewers. we get a t of viewers. and that's the methane story. there is methane we think in the mars atmosphere. methane can come from things like volcanic activity. but it seems like mars long ago shut down -- and we want to know, what the the story of this methane? because methane can also come from life. one of the principle sources of methane in earth's atmosphere, is from, how to put delicately,
bovine flatulence. >> now they will be analyzing samples with on-line labs. ideally it would be great to bring that stuff back to earth but we are a long ways from that? >> we are closer than we were 14 minutes ago. as a result of being able to do this particular type of landing. once again, tle would say, where do you choose to do it that way? why would you clooz it land this thing on mars? 900 kill grams or so. and vehicles can go out, collect the sample and launch it back on projectry that could get to earth. we would like to do that because then you have a piece of mars that is fresh. we actually do have pieces of mars on earth already.
there are martian meteorites, that landed in antarctica. they sit in the ant arctic ice cap for a while tp. so there are tantalizing samples of what mars was like a long time ago. but we can get a sample of what mars is like right now. that is truly fascinating. >> what we are actually expecting, from curiosity in the next couple of hours, next couple of weeks, i found interesting, was a video of the last minute or so of the landing. what can be learned from that? >> indeed. well, that's really important. not only will it be exciting but yes, once the bottom of the protective part of the vehicle comes off, there is a camera called a decent imageer that looks at the surface. that's important because, first of all, it tells you exactly where you are on the ground. they take those pictures, they take that video sequence and relate it to the imagery from mars reconnaissance orbiter.
mars global surveyor. mars odyssey. some satellite in orbit. spy satellites around mars. that joy talked about a few minutes guy. that's a way that the rover drivers can know where they are in addition to the cameras and triangulating, figuring out how far is it to mount sharp or to start the long climb up to joology work. but joy is still standing by with john, but i have a question for her. we spoke about peanuts tonight. i wonder if joy is wearing her hem hemotite necklace. >> we will pass it along. we are having problems getting to joy. glass can put a rover on particulars but we are having a technical problem getting to nasa right now. we appreciate your insight on this story. and there is more on the best news that nasa could have asked
for with the nasa rover curiosity. it is on the planet right now. and of course over at jpl, there are celebrations of this historic moment with the curiosity touching down, using untested technology. untested techniques. so much could have gone wrong. there was zero room for error. there was no error. photographs have been sent back already. and there are a lot of p happy people there right now. we will take a short break on cnn. and we will have more on the story when we come back. [ male announcer ] it's a golden opportunity... to drive a car filled with as much advanced technology as the world around it. with the available lexus enform app suite, you can use opentable to make restaurant reservations... search with bing... and listen to pandora. presenting the 2013 lexus gs, rx and the all-new es, the leading edge of the leading edge.
word that robotic rover, curiosity, successfully landed on mars. a mission ten years in the planning. we are getting pictures back from the red planet. the rover will be searching mars for signs of past life. now john zarrella has been at jpl from the moment this mission began, when we started getting images in. it has been an exciting moment there, john. just recap for us, john, exactly everything that has happened 0e6r the last 30 minutes or so. >> over the last 30 minutes offer so, the curiosity rover entered the martian atmosphere going at about 13,000 miles an hour. maneuvering its way through the atmosphere. and fortunately, for nasa, an orbiter called odyssey was in the perfect position in order to get the signal back. so everything that was transpiring in this spacecraft, as it was descending through the atmosphere, the maximum heating
on its heat shield, the shedding of the heat shield. the parachute then deployed. slowing curiosity down to 200 miles an hour, and then finally, the sky crane lowering curiosity to the surface, all of it was being sent back to nasa. granted there was a 14-minute delay, because that's the time it takes for the signal to reach earth. but it was about as realtime as can you get. and at that point, the cheers went up and mission control, the entire team ablutely ecstatic because again, john, as we have been pointing out, they had never before attempted this kind of a landing with this large after spacecraft on the surface of mars. john? >> absolutely, john, it has been a fantastic night, really. it's been history in the mickak. so good to see it live on cnn. well have a lot more on this
story as the day oes on. we will be talking about this with you in the hours. we have pictures as they come in from mars at cnn.com. but for now, that is it for this edition of "world report." i'll be back with another hour. we will have our special olympic coverage live from olympic park. i'm john vause. stay with us. i'll be back after the break. what's more beautiful than a covergirl? two covergirls.