On the surface of Mars - Touchdown

From MSN NBC News - by Alan Boyle - After eight years of planning and eight months of interplanetary travel, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory pulled off a touchdown of Super Bowl proportions, all by itself.  The spacecraft plunged through Mars' atmosphere, fired up a rocket-powered platform and lowered the car-sized, 1-ton Curiosity rover to its landing spot in 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide) Gale Crater. Then the platform flew off to its own crash landing, while Curiosity sent out a text message basically saying, "I made it!" That message was relayed by the orbiting Mars Odyssey satellite back to Earth. A radio telescope in Australia picked up the message and sent it here to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When the blips of data appeared on the screens at JPL's mission control, the room erupted in cheers and hugs. Read more

New Mexico science powers Mars rover

KRQEFans of the planet Mars are likely on pins and needles this weekend as they await the touchdown of the latest robotic rover on the surface of the Red Planet. However, even the biggest Mars fans might not know that more than 100 New Mexico-based scientists have played and will continue to play an integral role in the $2.5 billion project. “I am excited,” said Dr. Roger Wiens, leader of a team of Los Alamos scientists that designed and built one of the major components on the latest rover. “We’re right on the doorstep of getting this huge rover on the surface and just starting to play.” The newest rover – called Curiosity – was launched two days after Thanksgiving and is set to arrive on the surface of Mars late Sunday night after a nearly nine-month journey through space. It was built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which built all the previous Mars rovers. Read More News New Mexico


Delay in New Mexico’s scientific ghost town stirs skepticism of company’s grandiose plans

Washington Post Pegasus Global Holdings’ surprise announcement that it was pulling out of plans to build a $1 billion scientific ghost town in eastern New Mexico is stirring skepticism of the private firm’s grandiose plans for transforming 15 square miles of this largely rural state into a next-generation research center. Lea County had been working closely with the company after winning the bid to house the Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation. But “when we started pressing for details, that’s when they decided to look elsewhere,” county manager Mike Gallagher said. Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said he didn’t even know the group was abandoning its plans until he read a news report that followed a late -evening announcement on Friday, July 13. Cobb said he was told the group cited problems with mineral rights on the private land it was trying to acquire. But he said third parties hold mineral rights underneath a lot of New Mexico’s land and there are solid legal protections for financial reimbursement if someone decides to exercise them. Read More News New Mexico


Preibus: Harry Reid is a "Dirty Liar"

Harry Reid
Newsmax - Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is lying about Mitt Romney’s tax returns in order to divert the presidential campaign away from real issues.
At the end of an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Graham unloaded on Reid, saying, “I’ve been around this town for awhile—I actually like Harry—but what he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he’s lying about his statement about knowing something about Romney’s [tax returns]…”
That sentiment was echoed on ABC, where Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called Reid a “dirty liar” this morning on “This Week” for accusing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying taxes.
Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, has said in repeated interviews that, according to a source that called his office, Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for ten years. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Officials Get Greedy, Runs 19 Food Vendors Off

KOAT - Several long-time vendors are pulling out of this year's Balloon Fiesta because of a change in their contract. Steve Chavez of Chavez New Mexican Foods read off a list of vendors that have bowed out. “Chavez New Mexican Foods, after 28 years: Leaving. Perico's: Leaving. Rex Hamburgers: Leaving.”
Former City Attorney Pete Dinelli represents 19 local vendors. He spent time negotiating with Balloon Fiesta officials this week about a new contract this year. His clients were not happy with having to pay a higher rental rate, which is 30 percent of their gross.
Chavez explained how he cannot afford the increase.
“Our employee cost: 30 percent,” he said. “Our inventory cost: 30 percent. Our State of New Mexico gross receipt tax: 7 percent. Ovation comes in: 30 percent. And that leaves us with a 3 percent profit. You cannot make it.” Dinelli proposed a change. “It was a 15-percent increase with a flat fee,” he said. “They rejected that outright, and didn't even make a counter offer is what amazes me.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Unemployment up to 8.3%, Obama: "Our Plan is Working" - Romney: "Extraordinary Record of Failure"

Fox News - The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in July, reflecting a stagnant economic picture as hiring improved but not by enough to make a dent in the sea of unemployed Americans.
The Labor Department report, in a glimmer of positive news after three straight months of dismal jobs numbers, showed that hiring reached its best level since February, with 163,000 jobs added.
But the number brings the economy back to treading-water status. The economy added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year, roughly the same as last year's pace. That's not enough to satisfy the 12.8 million Americans who are unemployed. It would take 250,000 new jobs a month to rapidly bring the unemployment rate down.
With the rate rising from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent, Republicans amped up their criticism of President Obama's stewardship Friday.
"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families," Mitt Romney said in a statement. Speaking later in North Las Vegas, he called the sustained high unemployment an "extraordinary record of failure." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Ronnie Daniels Disappears Into Oblivion

Ronnie Daniels
Albuquerque Journal - Maybe you heard. Late last month, the University of Washington received a verbal commitment from a hot young quarterback prospect.
If the kid follows through, he’ll arrive on U-Dub’s Seattle campus in 2017. Tate Martell is 14 years old.
Around here, Ronnie Daniels used to be Tate Martell. Daniels was the can’t-miss prospect with golden legs, breakaway speed and the unmistakable aura of a major talent. This was a kid who signed his first autograph at the age of 12. But somewhere along the line, this can’t-miss kid did, in fact, miss. Badly. And publicly.
What has become of Ronnie Daniels? You may as well ask a fifth-grader to try and read ancient Arabic. It’s a riddle no one seems able to solve. “Nobody’s heard anything,” said longtime family friend Alvin Meadors, a former coach of Daniels’ in AAU basketball. “I was at summer school this year at La Cueva, and nobody knows anything.” Since being thrown out of the Texas Tech football program in the spring, Daniels – a 2010 La Cueva graduate and surely one of the most exciting running backs New Mexico’s ever produced – has been, for all intents and purposes, in seclusion. Read full story here: News New Mexico