Home' Greymouth Star : February 8th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, February 8, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1904 - Beginning of the Russo-Japanese War.
1915 - D W Gri th's silent movie epic
about the US Civil War, e Birth of a Nation,
premieres in Los Angeles.
1920 - Russian Bolsheviks capture Odessa in
1924 - e rst US execution by
gas takes place at the Nevada State
Prison in Carson City.
1962 - US military council is
established in South Vietnam.
1963 - Rebels in Baghdad, Iraq,
assassinate premier Abdul Karim Kassem, who
is replaced by Abdul Salam Arif.
1974 - ree US Skylab astronauts return to
Earth after setting record of 84 days in orbit.
1975 - Soviet spacemen begin training with
Americans for joint US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz
1976 - Death of Australian soprano Gladys
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Robert Burton, English author (1577-
1640); John Ruskin, English author-artist
(1819-1900); Jules Verne, French
author (1828-1905); Dame Edith
Evans, British actor (1888-1976);
Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman
Putra Alhaj, rst prime minister
of independent Malaya (Malaysia)
(1903-1990); Dame Elisabeth
Murdoch (1909-2012); Lana
Turner, US actor (1920-1995); Jack
Lemmon, US actor (1925-2001); James Dean,
US actor (1931-1955); Nick Nolte, US actor
(1941-); John Grisham, US author (1955-);
Gary Coleman, US actor (1968-2010); Mary
McCormack, US actress; (1969-).
"To maintain one's ideals in ignorance is
easy." --- Uta Hagen, German-born actress.
" e tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit."
--- Proverbs 18:21
Four young people
were injured, one
seriously, when a late
model English car
failed to negotiate a bend just south of the
Taramakau bridge shortly before two o'clock
e car left the road and nished upside
down at the bottom of a culvert several feet
from the road.
All the occupants had to be removed through
the front windscreen of the vehicle as the doors
In hospital this morning were: Coral
Wrightson, 24, of Christchurch, whose
condition is satisfactory. Beverley Anthony,
21, also of Christchurch. She su ered massive
abdominal injuries and is reported to be
serious. Jack Beynon, 21, of Tainui Street,
Greymouth. He is su ering from lacerations
and head injuries but is satisfactory; Barry
Edwin Currin, 22, of William Street,
Greymouth. He has multiple abrasions and a
fractured forearm but is satisfactory.
It is believed the car was travelling to Kumara
when the mishap occurred at Kumara Junction.
is is the rst accident on this particular bend
since the road was re-surfaced and widened
early last year.
Railwaymen gathered at Greymouth
yesterday to farewell Mr W H Neville, tra c
foreman on the wharf here who retired today
after 40 years' service with the department.
Mr Neville began his career in 1923 at
Dunedin. He transferred to Greymouth as a
shunter in 1937.
In 1947 he was appointed a guard at
Greymouth, a position he retained until 1959
when he was promoted to shift tra c foreman.
He took over his present position about two
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
If your body was laid bare to the
alien environment of Mars, the
vacuum of space would boil every
uid in it, then freeze-dry your
Away from the shelter of
the ozone layer, the intense
UV radiation of the Sun would fry any
With Antarctic temperatures, no water,
little oxygen and gravity, and deadly
amounts of carbon dioxide, human life on
Mars would be impossible without one
of the most elaborate life support systems
Would you want to live there?
New Zealand scientist Haritina
Mogosanu wouldn't, and she's been there
--- or at least the closest thing on Earth
ree New Zealanders are through to
round two of the selection process for
Mars One, which, with a privately-funded
plan to send colonists to the red planet by
2024, makes for the mother of all reality
Experts and o cials have cast doubt on
the practicality of the crowd-funded $6
billion venture, and Nasa chief engineer
Brian Muirhead last year said a private
Mars mission couldn't be funded.
Ms Mogosanu, a science communicator
and president of New Zealand Mars
Society, also has doubts.
"I hope they will succeed, and I hope in
this endeavour of theirs that humankind
will unite and support them ... but I don't
think it's realistic."
In 2012, Ms Mogosanu spent two weeks
as one of the six-member Kiwi Mars team
living in a simulated spacecraft at the
Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.
e 10m wide, two-storey environment
included a greenhouse and observatory to
replicate the conditions of a Mars mission.
e crew members spent their days in
space suits, carrying out research, eating
dehydrated food, with limited contact with
loved ones and next to no sleep.
But that was a brief jaunt compared with
In the joint Mars 500 project, six
astronauts descended into a Moscow car
park for 520 days inside a space capsule
completely isolated from the outside
"I don't think I could have gone
through anything in my life that would
have changed me in such a way," Ms
Mogosanu said of her experience in the
"I went there as a scientist but had this
almost spiritual experience that made me
realise what I was made of."
e outcome: she'd like to visit Mars, but
only if she could come back.
For the 200,000 people who put their
hands up for Dutch entrepreneur Bas
Lansdorp's Mars One mission --- that
number has now been whittled down to
1058 --- the ticket was one way.
One father of four from Utah was willing
to sacri ce life on Earth, but his wife, who
he didn't ask before volunteering, wasn't so
keen and threatened him with divorce.
Short-listed Auckland pre-school
teacher Nicola Fahey, 31, said she could
accept leaving her home planet behind
forever to ful l a life-long dream of being
Masterton woman Kristy Flower, also
on the list, said that if she was selected to
make the trip she would miss her family
and friends the most, but also little things
such as walking her dog or spending time
in the sun.
"But I also think of what I'll gain," the
20-year-old told the Wairarapa Times-
"Knowledge about our universe, which
others and myself would not have without
One as yet unidenti ed other New
Zealander is on the shortlist, which has yet
to be published.
e three are undergoing a round of tests
and inter views, but the odds are against a
New Zealander making the nal pool.
e Mars One plan is built entirely on
existing technology, and organisers have
formulated a detailed risk analysis protocol
with highly experienced experts, some
previously with Nasa and the European
e organisation said it was "constantly
working" to reduce the risk of delay and
failure of the 10-year mission.
Its Mars lander would be tested eight
times before the landing of the rst crew
in 2025, using identical vehicles, and
every component would be selected for its
simplicity, durability and capacity to be
repaired using facilities available on the
e organisation said the risk to human
life from space ight was similar to that
of climbing Mount Everest. e planet's
unforgiving environment meant any small
mistake or accident could result in large
failure, injury or death.
It said the mission's other big risk, cost
overrun, was reduced by using existing
technology and the fact that 66% of
its cost was associated with the "well
understood" launch and landing.
Its budget included a "large safety
margin" that would cover signi cant
mission failures as well as costly failures of
components on Mars.
If the mission did reach Mars, those on
it would be unable to return as spacecraft
that could take o from Mars did not
Auckland Stardome astronomy educator
David Britten is sceptical about the plan's
chances of success.
"Going from what they have on their
website, some of it sounds very well
thought out, and it seems they have done
their homework, but it's very hard to
assess just how concrete the plans they are
talking about are.
"But they are keeping so much to
themselves --- who are they going to
get to build the rockets? --- and are very
careful to feed out information in a very
controlled way that suits them."
Writing in Stardome's Astronomical
Yearbook, Mr Britten tackles the bid's
biggest hurdles point by point.
e project would not get o the ground
if Mars One could not nd a country
that would allow the launch of vehicles,
equipment and crews.
All nations with space-launch capability
have signed the Outer Space Treaty, a UN
document that forms the basis of space
law and requires signatories to "avoid
harmful contamination of space and
Interplanetary contamination, he said,
was a grave cause for caution when
sending and returning people from Mars.
Despite the best care, the planet could be
exposed to new bacteria, viruses, fungi and
disease, and there was yet to be a sample-
return mission from Mars.
While Mars was considered the most
hospitable planet to humans next to Earth,
that would matter little when people were
plunged into its brutal atmosphere.
Martian gravity was about 38% that
of Earth, its lowest temperature was
-87°degC, there was no water, and
the amount of CO2 in the Martian
atmosphere was 950,000 parts per million.
CO2 poisoning starts at about 1000
parts per million for human beings.
Every muscle would weaken in Martian
microgravity, decreasing bone mineral
density by about two per cent each month.
But rst, colonists would have to get
there, making a 225 million km, eight-
month journey in a craft far from being
built or tested.
Breaking free of Earth's gravity required
an escape velocity of 40,000kph --- or
11km per second --- but our planet's orbit
would mean the spacecraft would be
speeding around the Sun at 150,000kph.
e craft would have to be protected
from high energy particles from the Sun
during a solar mass ejection --- especially
as Mars One's proposed launch date was
during the next most active phase of the
11-year solar cycle.
e long trip would test every aspect
of life support --- engineering, medicine,
nutrition and psychology --- and boredom,
communication and extreme isolation
would be serious problems, Mr Britten
It also required sending supplies ahead
of the mission --- a craft able to do so
was yet to be designed --- and identifying
a possible landing site would require
Mars One had not yet shown how its
spacecraft would perform EDL --- entry,
descent and landing.
Unmanned craft have arrived at Mars
at a speed of 20,000kph and used a
heat shield for initial deceleration, but
a solution to landing humans safely on
Martian soil was still not obvious.
And if all of these challenges could
be overcome within the next decade,
sustaining life on Mars still would not be
Mr Britten said the colonists' day-to-day
survival would rely on revenue from a tv
audience at home, and governments and
corporations might also want a piece of
the action if they hadn't already killed the
Mars One dream.
Deaths, from natural causes or from
accidents, would prove inevitable and
bodies would be left to freeze dry outside.
" e loss of any crew before the next
batch of four arrive in two years will
severely strain the survival chances of the
And sooner or later, he said, a child
would be born on Mars.
"It would be next to impossible for
anyone born in the low gravity of Mars
to lead a normal life if brought back to
Mr Britten believed the Mars One
backers could save themselves a logistical
nightmare by setting their sights lower,
even creating a reality tv concept within a
virtual Mars environment like that which
Ms Mogosanu experienced.
Above that, they could aim for a
lunar outpost, or given the Obama
Administration's plans to land on one by
2021, an asteroid settlement.
But Mars One is rmly committed to
its plan, quoting John F Kennedy's famed
speech: "We choose to go to the moon,
not because it is easy, but because it is
e organisation isn't the only venture
eyeing the red planet, and among those
calling for a colony is Buzz Aldrin, the
second person to walk on the moon.
e rst space tourist, millionaire Dennis
Tito, is behind plans to send a man and
a woman on a 501-day y-by of Mars,
departing in 2018, and the billionaire
founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, envisions
an outpost of 10 pioneers on Mars
growing to a colony of 80,000 migrants.
Each would have to pay about $500,000
for the journey, which would be made
aboard a large reuseable transport vehicle
powered by oxygen and methane.
Like Ms Mogosanu, Mr Britten wished
any expedition luck, but has strong
"Perhaps the best bet should still be on
Nasa eventually sending astronauts on a
return mission around 2030," he said.
"Small, sure steps may well succeed
where grandiose gestures evaporate."
Evidence suggests Mars was once
much more habitable than it is today, but
whether anything ever lived there remains
Samples collected by Nasa's Curiosity
rover, which landed on Mars in August
2012, showed the planet could have
supported living microbes.
Scientists found sulphur, nitrogen,
hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and
carbon --- some of the core chemical
ingredients for life --- in powder the buggy
drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an
ancient stream bed in one of the planet's
e nds suggested the area was the
end of an ancient river system or an
intermittently wet lake bed that could
have provided chemical energy and other
favourable conditions for microbes.
Scientists were surprised to nd a
mixture of oxidised, less oxidised, and
even non-oxidised chemicals, providing an
energy gradient of the sort many microbes
on Earth exploit to live.
But what remains clear is that Mars'
harsh and extreme conditions would prove
deadly to life as we know it.
Its temperatures are comparable to those
in Antarctica, there is no liquid water, air
pressure and gravity are greatly reduced,
oxygen levels are nearly zero and the
atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide.
It is believed that with highly complex
life support measures, human colonisation
on Mars could be possible.
But whether humans could ever adapt to
Martian life is another question.
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
An artist's impression of Mars One's planned rst settlement on the red planet.
A large piece of stage backdrop
autographed by the Beatles during their
rst live US concert 50 years ago is
headed to auction, where it could draw
$US800,000 ($NZ970,000) to $US1
Face caricatures accompany the
signatures that the Fab Four penned
between sets of their historic Ed Sullivan
appearance on February 9, 1964, which
they opened with All My Loving in front
of 700 screeching audience fans and 73
million television viewers.
e current owner of the 120cm-by-
60cm plastic wall section is Andy Geller,
a longtime Beatles collector and television
and lm voice-over artist.
It is being sold in New York City on
April 26 through the Dallas-based auction
house Heritage Auctions.
Believed to be the largest Beatles
autograph, a stagehand is responsible for
getting the band members to sign the back
of the wall section known as a hardwall
traveller, which is rolled back and forth to
reveal the next act.
"It was a spur of the moment thing,"
81-year-old Jerry Gort said from his
Calabasas, California, home.
" ey came down from stage right
from their dressing rooms, I gave them a
marker and asked them to sign the wall."
e band signed vertically from the
bottom up: John Lennon rst, then
Paul McCartney, who scribbled "Uncle
Paul McCartney," followed by George
Ringo Starr, shorter than the rest,
couldn't reach the top so "I put my arms
around him and lifted him," said Gort,
simultaneously putting his foot on the
wall to keep it from opening until Ringo
nished signing the piece.
Gort said Ringo then "made a mad
dash to get to his drums" and the band
launched into I Saw Her Standing ere
and I Want to Hold Your Hand.
e wall also contains the signature
of other acts that followed later in the
television season, notably from the
Searchers, another British band that
signed e Searchers Were Here with
At the end of the season, the wall was
destined for the rubbish heap --- but was
saved by another carpenter for a young
disabled Beatles fan.
Geller said he purchased the wall
privately for over $100,000 in 2002
without knowing its history.
e wall is being sold with a
signed letter from Gort and a letter of
authenticity from noted Beatles autograph
expert Frank Caiazzo.
It will be on display in the window of
Heritage Auctions' Park Avenue gallery
in time for Beatlefest, an autograph and
memorabilia event at the Grand Hyatt
New York that runs this weekend.
e priciest Beatles collectible is John
Lennon's hand-painted Rolls Royce
Phantom V, which sold at a 1985 auction
e most expensive Beatles hand-
written lyric is for All You Need is Love,
auctioned for $1.25m in 2005.
Heritage's music memorabilia
consignment director Garry Schrum called
the wall "an amazing wildcard," which
could go for "$800,000 to $1 million,
maybe more." --- AAP
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah --- Fab money! Yee-ha!
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