PASADENA, California (AP) - The latest Mars destination is a giant crater near the equator with an odd feature: a mountain rising from the crater floor.
How did it get there?
Gale Crater was gouged by a meteor impact more than 3 billion years ago. Over time, scientists believe sediments filled in the 96-mile (155-kilometer)-wide crater and winds sculpted the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer)-high mountain, called Mount Sharp.
Mount Sharp's stack of rock layers can be read like pages in a storybook with older deposits at the base and more recent material the higher up you go, providing a record of Mars history through time.
Images from space reveal signs of water in the lower layers of the mountain, including mineral signatures of clays and sulfate salts, which form in the presence of water. Life as we know it needs more than just water. It also needs nutrients and energy.
During its two-year mission, the NASA rover Curiosity will trek to the mountain's lower flanks in search of the carbon-based building blocks of life.
GUATEMALA CITY, (AFP) - Guatemala's Kakchiquel speakers will now be able to access Facebook in their own language thanks to a new application developed by US software engineers.
Facebook is available in more than 70 languages from around the world including Spanish, which is widely spoken in Guatemala, but not in any language used by indigenous Guatemalan populations, US software engineer Robert Henderson told the Prensa Libre daily on Saturday.
Henderson and a team of other software experts developed the application, with authorization from Facebook headquarters, for the Wuqu' Kawoq Maya Health Alliance, a Guatemala-based non-governmental organization.
Juan Ajsivinac, a Kakchiquel linguist at Guatemala's Academy of Mayan Languages, said that the project will be a great boost for the 70,000 Kakchiquel speakers that live in 23 communities in Guatemala.
Maya natives who use the application ''will write and read in Kakchiquel, which helps preserve our language and identity,'' Ajsivinac told Prensa Libre.
Starting Thursday, users will be able to download the application for free via the Web browsers Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome at washwuj.com; which means Facebook in Kakchiquel, and apply it to their Facebook account.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, (AFP) - Pakistan on Saturday resumed NATO supplies, allowing 14 containers to cross into Afghanistan from its northwestern border at Torkham, officials said.
Pakistan had temporarily stopped NATO supplies over security concerns on July 24 after gunmen attacked a convoy of NATO trucks on July 24, killing a driver, in the town of Jamrud on the outskirts of the main northwestern city Peshawar.
''The NATO supplies have been resumed from today and we sent 14 containers'' for international troops in Afghanistan,'' a local administration official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he is unauthorised to speak to media.
A local intelligence official also confirmed resumption of supplies and the departure of 14 NATO containers to Afghanistan.
A senior local customs official, Ubaidullah Khan, however, put the figure of containers, which left for Afghanistan, at seven, adding that they carried food stuff and clothes.
WASHINGTON (AP) - An analysis by a top government scientist says the extreme heat and drought seen in the U.S., Europe and other regions in recent years must be global warming.
Specifically the study by NASA scientist James Hansen blames climate change for last year's drought in Texas and Oklahoma, the 2010 heat wave in Russia and the 2003 European heat wave that led to tens of thousands of deaths.
Hansen told The Associated Press in an interview that the world is now experiencing scientific fact.
Hansen's research is respected by other climate scientists. But he is also an activist who has pushed for curbing greenhouse gases. Some experts don't expect the new study to change any minds. Hansen's work was published online Saturday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - A 14-storey office tower tumbles to the ground in just a few seconds during New Zealand's first controlled implosion.
U.S. demolition experts used 60 kilograms (130 pounds) of explosives to blow up Radio Network House in Christchurch on Sunday. The building, once home to 400 office workers, was badly damaged during a devastating magnitude-6.1 earthquake last year.
The quake irreparably damaged 1,400 downtown buildings and killed 185 people, although nobody in Radio Network House was killed.
Hundreds of people turned out to watch Sunday. Six-year-old Jayden Halliwell, who suffers from kidney cancer, pressed the button to trigger the explosion.
Greg Hedges, the building's majority owner, says the implosion cost about 1.5 million New Zealand dollars ($1.2 million) and was more efficient than taking the building down in pieces.