Mars link for Timaru man
There was excitement in Timaru's Newton St last night.
Timaru amateur radio enthusiast and technology buff George Boorer watched with anticipation as Nasa's Curiosity sent a signal from Mars.
It was a moment he had waited 12 months for after receiving news that his name would be encoded on a chip aboard the craft.
Mr Boorer, 68, known on Mars as ZL3PN, received a certificate of authentication after he applied to have his details sent to the planet.
The retired electrician is a life member of the South Canterbury Amateur Radio Club and has built an impressive setup at his home where he listens in and chats with other operators around the world.
While he is optimistic about the US$2.5 billion (NZ$3b) mission, there have been lighter moments.
"One of my mates joked that I'd better watch out as the aliens will be on to me.
"I reckon it's all right because they've got Visa cards up there."
He was delighted that Nasa had sent his details to Mars.
"It will be great if it works out; I reckon there's life up there."
Curiosity is the most ambitious and priciest Mars mission yet.
For the next two years, the rover will drill into rocks and scoop up soil.
It will be exploring whether the planet's environment could have supported life in the form of microscopic organisms.
- © Fairfax NZ News