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Friday, September 14, 2012

US embassies attacked as anti-Islam film protests widen




Protesters angered by a film made in the US and mocking Islam have attacked Western embassies in Tunisia and Sudan.

Footage shows protesters in Khartoum storming the German embassy























Protesters in Khartoum entered the US compound, while the German and UK embassies were also attacked. The US compound in Tunis was also breached by protesters, who started a fire in the car park as police fired shots.

There were further clashes in Yemen and Egypt. One person in Lebanon has died.

Protests began on Tuesday against the film, which was made in the US.

However, the film - clips of which were dubbed into Arabic and distributed online - has no link to either Germany or the UK.

It depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and leader of a group of men who enjoy killing.

The film's exact origin and the motivation behind its production remain a mystery.

'March abandoned'

In Tunisia, hundreds of protesters entered the embassy compound and set fire to several vehicles in the car park.

Police have fired shots, but it is not clear whether these are rubber bullets or live rounds.

Demonstrators raised a black flag bearing the Islamic proclamation of faith: "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

The American school in Tunis has also been set on fire.

The German embassy in Khartoum was set partially alight. Demonstrators tore down the German flag and hoisted an Islamic banner in its place.

The German foreign ministry confirmed all its staff in Khartoum were safe.

In Cairo, police firing tear gas pushed about 500 protesters back from the US embassy. The streets nearby have been blocked with barbed wire, concrete and police vehicles.

Islamist groups and others had called for a peaceful "million-man march" in the city, but a number withdrew those calls on Friday.

The Muslim Brotherhood of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said it would organise marches and sit-ins in front of mosques - but none outside the US embassy in Cairo.

After talks with Italian leaders in Rome, Mr Mursi reiterated his government's determination to protect foreign diplomats on its soil. He also condemned the film as unacceptable.

In other developments:
In the Yemeni capital Sanaa, security forces fired warning shots and water cannon to disperse protesters near the US embassy
The US is sending a fast-response team of 50 marines to Sanaa to boost security
In the Lebanese city of Tripoli, protesters set fire to a KFC branch, sparking clashes with security forces
In Bangladesh, thousands of demonstrators demanded harsh punishment for the film's makers, and burned the American flag
In London, about 200 protesters gathered outside the US embassy, burning the US and Israeli flags but there was no violence
About 1,000 people joined a protest in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, burning an effigy of US President Barack Obama
The US embassy in Brussels has been evacuated
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem
In Nigeria, police in the flashpoint northern city of Jos fired live round at a protest outside a mosque
There were also protests in eastern Sri Lanka and in the Maldives

The protests against the film began on Tuesday in Cairo.

They spread to the Libyan city of Benghazi, where demonstrators stormed the US consulate, killing the ambassador and three other Americans.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are attending a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base for the return of the remains of the Americans killed.

The US has said it is stepping up security at its diplomatic missions around the world in the wake of the attack.

The BBC has been told that the US consulate in Benghazi was not given the standard security contract offered to most US diplomatic missions in the Middle East.

The allegation came from Western private military contractors.

A White House spokesman has said there was no "actionable intelligence" in advance about the Benghazi attack.

President Obama has now ordered a review of security at US diplomatic facilities around the world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Businesses look to cash in on royal visit to Singapore





A lone aeroplane engine stands centre stage covered in plastic and waiting to be unwrapped.

Workers around it are setting up a podium and re-painting the stage wall just the right shade of blue, in readiness for a royal visit.

This is the $562m (£350m) Rolls-Royce aeronautical production facility which opened earlier this year in Singapore, and the engine, a Trent 900 Aero, is destined for an Airbus A380 plane.

On Wednesday, its plastic covers will be unwrapped as the engine is unveiled by Prince William, who is in town with his wife Catherine on a tour of Singapore, Malaysia and the Solomon Islands.

Jonathan Asherson, the head of Rolls-Royce's South East Asian operations, says their visit will bring a number of benefits.

"The tangible benefits to the visit will include things like the buzz that the employees will feel, and the partnership between Singapore and the UK," he tells the BBC.

"The Duke and Duchess will be launching the first production engine and the first production fan blades from this facility.

"Intangible benefits are things like the coverage we get, those benefits are going to be for our own internal buzz, but we're hoping our customers will notice this as well," he adds. Flower power

The Duke and Duchess are touring the region to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

According to the British High Commission in Singapore, the visit to the city was included in their trip as it's seen as an important trading partner of the United Kingdom.

They will be meeting key Singapore and British business leaders during their trip.

Some $40bn is invested in Singapore by UK businesses while the UK attracts two-thirds of Singapore's foreign direct investment into Europe.

One of the first stops on their tour saw them visiting the nation's Orchid Gardens on Tuesday where they had an orchid named after them.

The gardens, set within the larger botanical gardens, charge for entry and are 70% self-funded.

They have been naming hybrid orchids, created by their horticulturists, after famous people since 1957.

According to Nigel Taylor the director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, there is almost always an uptick in visitors after an orchid is named after a well known person.

"There's clearly a marketing effect that benefits Singapore and the gardens," he says.

"There's also a more immediate local effect, for some of the locals who haven't visited the orchid gardens for a while, they may be reminded that it exists and that it's an opportunity they shouldn't miss out on.

"When someone like the Duke and Duchess come to visit, which is something that happens very rarely... the quid pro quo is definitely the publicity we get." Brand effect

The British monarchy is a very valuable brand.

One study published before the Queen's jubilee celebrations in June, found that this value amounted to $70bn.

But more than half of that is intangible. Rather than creating value by producing goods, the monarchy's brand value lies in association.

Samir Dixit from Brand Finance who carried out the research, says the British monarchy is the world's second most valuable brand after Apple, with Apple valued just slightly higher at $70.6bn.

The firm has measured the value of the Royal Family in part by looking at companies who have been issued Royal warrants and coats of arms.

Royal warrants have been issued for centuries for goods or services that are supplied to the sovereign or to a member of the royal family.

These, according to Brand Finance, have made those brands associated to the Royal Family more successful. Local interest

And it is this brand value that some local firms are keen to cash in on.

Art Trove, a Singapore art gallery is celebrating the Queen's jubilee by selling lithographs of watercolour paintings by Prince Charles and other art pieces as well as photographs of the Royal Family.

These include pictures of Prince William as a child with his late mother, Princess Diana.

Also on offer is a $200,000 diamond encrusted gold medallion made by the East India Company for the Queen's jubilee. The gallery says it has already sold its other silver version worth $40,000 to an Asian collector.

The entire collection for sale is worth nearly one million dollars.

Sharon Tay, a consultant at the gallery, thinks that interest in the exhibition, which has been running since last month, will pick up with the Duke and Duchess' visit to Singapore.

The St. Regis in Singapore, part of the US Starwood chain of hotels, is also hoping the visit will help push sales for their themed dinners and activities.

The hotel has planned a month long tribute to British culture and the arts which includes hiring a Michelin starred Welsh chef to cook $200 per head meals and a tie up with the Royal Academy of Arts with an exhibiiton by British artist Paul Huxley.

Cheryl Ong, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, says that even though the events were not planned to coincide with the Royal trip, it was "very serendipitous timing".

"We have seen keen interest from our guests and members of the public, with reservations coming in steadily for the British Arts Celebration culinary showcases," she adds.

For local and multinational companies alike, the consensus is that even though they might not see an immediate pick-up in business during the short visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the effects of it will be evident in higher sales after they leave.

Then it won't just be the monarchy having a diamond year.

Ferrari sales and profits surge to record highs


Exhibition in Rome aimed at highlighting Italian flair and craftsmanship.

Italian supercar and Formula 1 racing firm Ferrari has reported record sales and profits for the first six months of 2012.

The company made 100m euros ($128m; £80m) net profit, up 10% on the same period a year earlier.
With 3,664 cars delivered to dealers during the period, revenues rose 11.9% to 1.2bn euros.
Sales and profits remain strong, so 2012 could be another record year, chief executive Amedeo Felisa predicts.

In 2011, Ferrari sold 7,195 cars, also a record, up 9.5% when compared with 2010.
"Probably this year we will have, again, a record in terms of volume and we will have a record in terms of economic results for the company," Mr Felisa told BBC News in an interview.

New models:
 
Ferrari sales have been bolstered by a broader range of cars launched in recent years.
"If you compare the situation at Ferrari five years ago, we have reshaped the range of products," Mr Felisa said.

They include relatively recently-launched models such as the California and the FF, which offer everyday comforts and practicality and thus appeal to a new type of customers.

Its latest model, the F12berlinetta, goes on sale this month and is expected to drive sales further among customers more interested in extreme high-speed performance.

Ferrari also offers two other sportscars, the 458 Italia and the 458 Spider.

Global growth:
 
The carmaker has also enjoyed strong sales growth in new markets in Asia - China in particular, and in Russia, the Middle East, and South America.

"Today, of the total we manufacture we sell 7% within Italy, 93% around the world," said Mr Felisa.
Ferrari currently sells its cars in 60 countries.

"We continue to look for new markets," Mr Felisa said.

G20 economic growth slows in 2012

G20 leaders
G20 leaders discussed measures to encourage economic growth at their summit in June
                                                
The G20 group of leading world economies has reported slower growth in the three months ending in June.
National output as measured by GDP grew at an annual rate of 3% in the second quarter compared with 3.2% in the first quarter, official data showed.

But, economic health varied with China's output growing 7.6% and Italy's shrinking 2.6% due to recession.
Taking global population growth into account, G20 output is effectively stagnating.

The G20 data was compiled by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Officials from the world's 19 leading economies and the European Union are meeting in Mexico City for talks.

They are under particular pressure to act to moderate the impact of high food prices on households whose incomes are stagnating and shrinking due to the economic slowdown.

Drought has reduced harvests in North America whilst Russian grain exports have also fallen, pushing up global prices.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Closing ceremony of the London Olympics 2012

In these past 17 days, London has given the world something to talk about, raised the bar of expectations, satisfied the world’s insatiable appetite for entertainment and they did it with style and pride. But the climax was reached with the smashing success of the closing ceremony of the London Olympics 2012. Featuring more than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 adult volunteers and 380 schoolchildren, the ceremony showcased talent, artistes and creativity with attention to detail, sparing absolutely no expense.
Very honestly, I had heard rumours about The Spice Girls reuniting and taking the stage at the Olympics and my main concern watching the ceremony was to watch them mesmerise the crowd just like they did in the 90’s! But the moment I started watching the ceremony, I was hooked. There wasn’t a scene I wanted to miss or moment I could predict.
Sitting in my room, glued to the television, this was easily the best roller-coaster ride you could have witnessed. From start to end, the closing ceremony was electric. In this blog, I’m going to try and highlight the moments I found to be most captivating.
Rise and shine London!
The event started off with “A day in the life of London” theme, show casing all the landmarks you would see whence awakening for your daily work routine. The theme was enchanting; the landmarks, the people, the cars were all covered in newspaper clippings! What at first glance, seems like rhetoric facts and figures suddenly reveal prose from poems and writings by famous British poets and writers. The glitz and glamour of the London streets at rush hour portrayed here was phenomenal. They captured every detail that comes to life in the wake of morn. If you haven’t been to London and seen the morning hustle-bustle, this would give you a feel of the type of systematic chaos that comes forth.
Spectators are treated to the closing ceremony pre-show
And then started the clattering and rhythmic beats from within the buildings! Turning the building and everything else surrounding them into musical instruments, thudding and thumping came The Stomps with their percussion routine. They played on everything! Dustbins, buildings, people and finally used brooms, the same ones they just played tunes with, to clean away the newspaper.

Although it may seem like noise and disarray here, shockingly enough, the crowd, including myself, were enthralled! To think you can play a tune on the Tower Bridge!
Pictures from the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony (© Reuters)
With Emeli Sande singing in the background I don’t think we had time to get over the view that beheld us, when out popped Winston Churchill from the Big Ben! Pretty much telling The Stomps to shut up, he quoted Shakespeare, as was done in the opening ceremony.
A performer takes part in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium
The energy and excitement vibrating through the crowd was pulsating through the screen and all I could do was wish I was there to witness the grandeur in its entirety myself.
Performers wave British flags during Closing Ceremony
Then came the British national anthem- and a whole new wave of goose bumps! Funnily enough, even though the anthem was not Pakistani, it left me in awe- it made me want to stand up and sing my own national anthem amongst a crowd that big!
Although the purely British theme could have sucked the fun out of certain scenes they were trying to create- like the explosion of a yellow car- which apparently signified a British comedy (please excuse me- very uneducated in that genre I am). The bang in itself with Michael Caine’s voice booming in the background saying “I only told you to blow the bloody doors off!” was hilarious enough- without any background knowledge, not to mention the barrage of colourful balloons that were released!
The Big Bang
Just like the Big Bang, this scenic view of the city of London, covered in newspaper sprawled over a British flag coloured River Thames was pulled apart. Every beginning and end thought out so carefully- down to every little detail, the genius behind this creative masterpiece deserves a widespread applause!
Just as the theme for an early morning London was set forth, thousands of alarm clocks began to blare and beep sounding the arrival of probably what was an evening London – at sunset I suppose.
The event reverberated happiness and peace and just a sense of excited unity as sports usually do. When the athletes came marching in, donning their national flags, with their ridiculously happy expressions, you could just tell that life had changed for them.
Athletes watch the fireworks show at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Wanna know a fun fact?
The Olympics actually held 303 events!
How do I know that? No, it wasn’t Wikipedia! Because performers brought together 303 white boxes to form a pyramid on which the highlights were all projected! Nostalgia seeped through as visions of happiness and teary moments captured throughout the events burst onto the white pyramid. Factual and fun – I didn’t think you could manage that in one feat.

Excitement started breaking through even more, when music legends like George Michael paid a tribute to John Lennon – a silhouetted Lennon that was created for all to see with jigsaw puzzles. Once this was dissembled and after a bunch of British music that was great to hear- but (again excuse the ignorance) did not interest me very much, came what seemed to me like the biggest catwalk. Nine British supermodels strutted their stuff in front of a crowd of 80,000 people- this definitely had to be the biggest ramp ever. I doubt the boys have anything to complain about regarding this event – unlike the opening ceremony where Bond and Beckham (sigh) were drooled over by the girls and the boys tried to conceal their annoyance under stark criticism.
British models take part at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 12, 2012.
Although I really wasn’t a fan of the songs being sung earlier in the event, the songs and artists that came next, in limousines might I add, were magnificent. With lights, glitter and a massive octopus glamorising their entrance, I hadn’t stopped singing along and dancing to Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’, Tinie Tempah’s ‘Written in the Stars’ and Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’ when *let the drum rolls begin* came The Spice Girls in five black taxis.
Famous British disc jockey Fatboy Slim performs at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
After a ballet performed by the famous black cabs of London, out came Posh, Sport, Baby, Scary and Ginger spice - reunited once again singing ‘Wannabe’ and the crowd burst into screams of joy! Each on the cabs they came from were lit in colours and themes as props to their nicknames- what fun! A wistful cloud of bliss encompassed the fans, me actually, and I really did not want the sequence to end. It was great to see them back together again – giving hopes for a possible reunion, but I regretfully doubt that ever happening. Maybe it’s for the good anyway; I mean who wants to ruin the memories you have with their old songs with new songs that may not do justice to their image.
The Spice Girls perform in front of a London taxi during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
I’ll try not to get carried away with my antics about the Spice Girls and move to the rest of the event. Although this was the highlight for the girls, many other fans were hoping against hope that they would be able to witness the surprise reunion of the ‘Oasis’ – although their song ‘Wonder wall’ was boomed in the stadium, it was performed solely by Liam Gallagher.
For me, this really was the climax of the event, but was taken a step further when Jessie J returned to perform a rendition of ‘We will rock you’ – and that was it; hearts thumping, ears pumping, and excitement taking over the entire stadium, the effect of this song was electrical.
With entertainment for all ages, they managed to give the boys their dose of eye candy with the supermodels, girls their youth back with the Spice girls and the kids a fill of adventure with the performances, I doubt there is a single thing that comes to mind that you could pinpoint and say was missing from this event! From cars and buildings, to people falling from the sky, to fireworks, the Spice Girls and even supermodels – the razzle and dazzle of this event encapsulated every single detail with flare!
The Pet Shop Boys during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Memories were created and history was made. With a gigantic success like this, setting an even higher standard for entertainment, we can only sit back and anticipate what the next Olympic Games have in store for us.
I’m sure I wasn’t able to encapsulate even a quarter of what the actual event portrayed and may have even missed out on some of your favourite moments, but this was the closing ceremony as I saw it, and it was fantastic!
Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012.
The Olympic torch being put off until 2016, left many with a sense of sadness at the realisation of its end. Despite Pakistan’s performance at the Olympics, the event was historical and all we can do is hope for a better chance next time around! What a surreal journey it was.
Rio de Janeiro, you have a tough giant to beat in 2016, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the glitz of this event will be upped.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two earthquakes have struck north-western Iran-87 people dead and 400 more injured

  

Two strong earthquakes have struck north-western Iran, leaving at least 87 people dead and 400 more injured, according to state TV.

The quakes struck near the city of Tabriz and the town of Ahar, but most of the casualties are thought to be in outlying villages.

Reports say phone lines to many villages have been cut off, making rescue efforts harder.

The US Geological Service measured the quakes at magnitude 6.4 and 6.3.

"The quake has created huge panic among the people," one resident of Tabriz told the BBC. "Everyone has rushed to the streets and the sirens of ambulances are everywhere."

The towns of Haris and Varzaqab in East Azerbaijan province were among those that suffered casualties, Khalil Saei, local crisis committee chief, told state TV, according to the Associated Press.

Officials say at least four villages have been completely destroyed, with another 60 villages suffering damage ranging from 50% to 70%.

The two earthquakes came within minutes of each other, according to seismology experts at Tehran University.

Dozens of rescue workers have been sent to the region, but the onset of darkness has hampered relief efforts.

Mexico stunned favourites Brazil 2-1 to win Gold

Oribe Peralta

Oribe Peralta

  


  London Olympics 2012 Football Final: Mexico stun Brazil to win gold



Mexico stunned favourites Brazil 2-1 at Wembley to win the men's Olympic football gold medal for the first time.

Oribe Peralta struck from the 18-yard box after 32 seconds following some poor Brazilian defending.

Fabian Marco hit the Brazil crossbar before a completely unmarked Peralta headed his team's second goal.

Brazil, also hoping to win gold for the first time, pulled a goal back through Hulk in injury-time, before Oscar headed wide when well positioned.

But the South American side scarcely deserved to take the game into extra-time after a very patchy performance, particularly in defence.

Mano Menezes's team had scored three in each of their previous five games and were treating the tournament as an important staging post ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2014.

But if they are to succeed on home soil they will have to show a significant improvement from what they produced at Wembley, with star forward Neymar a largely peripheral figure.

Menezes went into Saturday's match under huge pressure to deliver gold and fill the one significant missing blank for the Brazilian team, but if the game was to be Brazil's coronation as Olympic champions then Mexico clearly had not read the script.



They defeated Brazil 2-0 in a friendly earlier in the summer and stunned Wembley when Peralta's low strike nestled in the bottom corner while many inside the stadium were still taking their seats.

Manchester United defender Rafael was partly at fault for the goal, his sloppy pass allowing Javier Aquino to nip in and dispossess Sandro, with the ball running invitingly into the path of Peralta.

Brazil could not find their stride - a situation not helped by a series of niggly fouls that broke up play and angered coach Menezes, who could be seen waving an imaginary card on the touchline.

And their disappointing start was put into stark perspective when Menezes made a change just after the half-hour mark, bringing on Hulk for Alex Sandro.



The substitution made a difference and Jose Corona managed to palm clear a swerving strike from Hulk while Marcelo shot wastefully wide after he had linked with Oscar and Leandro Damiao to carve open the left side of the Mexican defence.

By the early stages of the second half it was obvious that Mexico had opted to try to defend their lead.

This seemed to play into the hands of their opponents, particularly Neymar, who had disappointed in the opening half but briefly relished the chance to repeatedly run at the Mexico defence.

He twice shot wide and saw another effort blocked, but his influence soon faded and Mexico almost struck with a swift break.

There was more shoddy Brazilian defending involved too, as Fabian dispossessed an opponent far too easily and eventually saw his overhead effort rebound off the crossbar.

An unmarked Peralta later slotted home from six yards but Brazil were saved by the offside flag. There was to be no reprieve with 15 minutes remaining.

A free-kick was delivered from the right and the Mexico striker was left completely alone to head home from eight yards.

Brazil's frustrating afternoon saw team-mates Juan Jesus and Rafael square up to each other in the final minutes.

Hulk's injury-time strike into the bottom corner briefly ignited hope of a spectacular comeback and Oscar then headed wastefully wide at the near post as Mexico held on.




Friday, August 10, 2012

BOLT in action

































BOLT is the legend after all Jamaican 200 meter sprint!




Usain_200m-Olympic 2012







Usain Bolt


















warren weir, usain bolt ,yohanblake










Usain Bolt finally permitted the world to acclaim him as a sporting legend after the supreme showman of track and field delivered another superlative performance at the London Olympics on Thursday.

Bolt danced around the bend in the men's 200 metres final, accelerated past Yohan Blake on his inside and glanced quickly to his left to check he was ahead of his Jamaican team mate.

Satisfied he had the race won, he sauntered over the line with his right index finger held high. His time of 19.32 seconds equalled the then world record set by Michael Johnson at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics which statisticians estimated would last another quarter of a century.

Instead Bolt reduced it to 19.30 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then to 19.19 at the Berlin world championships the following year. He also broke the 100 record twice.

Last Sunday Bolt joined Carl Lewis as the second man to retain the 100 title but said he would defer any talk of legends until he went one better than the American and successfully defended both sprint crowns.

There were no such inhibitions on Thursday after Bolt led Blake and Warren Weir to a Jamaican clean sweep. The United States, the traditional giants of Olympic sprinting, are the only other country to win all three medals in a single Games.

"It's what I came here to do, I'm now a legend," Bolt said after a joyous victory lap with Blake and Weir during which he acknowledged the tumultuous applause from all parts of the Olympic stadium.

"I'm also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson. I'm honoured. It's all about Michael Johnson for me. I grew up watching him break world records. He's a great athlete."

Bolt made his early reputation as a 200 metres runner and coach Glen Mills, who took charge after injury ruined Bolt's 2044 Athens Olympics campaign, was keen for him to try the 400.

Instead Bolt persuaded Mills to let him drop to the 100, which he did with spectacular success with his world records in Beijing and Berlin.

Johnson, who won the 200-400 double in Atlanta and retained his 400 title at the 2000 Sydney Games believes Bolt could go where no man or women has ever gone and set a world record in the 400 to add to his 100 and 200 marks.

Bolt has said repeatedly that both training for and racing the 400 would be too painful an experience but he did concede this year that a further debate with Mills is on the cards after the season ends.

"I sense that my coach wants me to run it, I think we are going to have a showdown after the season," he said.

First Bolt will help his team mates try to retain the 4x100 metres relay title.

The final is scheduled for Saturday evening, the penultimate night of the Games. Victory for the Jamaicans would give Bolt six Olympic track medals, one ahead of Lewis who also won four long jump titles.

Monday, August 6, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Successfully Lands on Mars

NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has a tall task ahead of itself when it lands Aug. 6 on the Red Planet.

The rover, part of the $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission, will aim to search for signs that Mars is, or ever was, habitable. Since one of the key requirements of habitability is thought to be the presence of liquid water, Curiosity will seek signs of water buried beneath the Martian surface.To do this, the rover will shove neutrons underneath the planet's surface in hopes that the particles bump against hydrogen, one of the two types of atoms that make up water molecules. Neutrons are subatomic particles that have no electrical charge. When a neutron hits a hydrogen atom, the neutron will slow to a near-stop because the two particles are about the same size.
“The goal is in about 20 minutes of pulsing and returning and detecting the signal, [the rover] can build up a fairly good understanding of how much water there is below the surface,” said Ashwin Vasavada, MSL's deputy project scientist. [11 Amazing Things NASA's Huge Mars Rover Can Do] Neutrons have already been used on Mars to find what are believed to be ice reservoirs. In 2002, a high-energy neutron detector aboard the orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft found robust evidence of hydrogen on the higher latitudes of the Red Planet, lurking just underneath the surface.
From space, it's much easier to use neutrons to seek out water because high above a planet, there are many neutrons, Vasavada said. Closer to the surface, neutrons are so few and far between thatMSL must carry its own artificial neutron generator.
Provided by the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment onboard Curiosity will blast 10 million neutrons into the surface with every pulse. These pulses will only take an instant: typically one microsecond, or a millionth of a second. Curiosity can send these pulses out up to 10 times per second.Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover is supposed to land on
Mars, is not expected to have vast tracts of water underground. Maps of the area show possible sulphates and clays in the lowlands.
As for water, NASA expects the landing site will have “hydrated minerals,” meaning minerals that have water molecules or hydrogen-oxygen ions stitched into the mineral's crystal fabric. NASA says these minerals can “tenaciously retain water” from a past time when water may have been more abundant on Mars. Water might also be present in a transient form that changes with the Martian seasons, such as soil moisture that can increase or decrease according to the surrounding humidity. DAN can also help researchers understand the “water cycle” on Mars and compare it with what occurs on Earth. Our planet recycles its water in a continuum between the atmosphere and bodies of water such as oceans, lakes and underground reservoirs. DAN will try to map out the Martian water cycle in conjunction with Curiosity's cameras and its weather station, which can capture properties such as humidity, wind speed, and temperature.


Figuring out where the water goes will help scientists understand how the Martian climate works. With a little analysis, this knowledge may just make the search for life a bit easier.



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