Posts Tagged ‘mars’

Tomorrow’s Mission to Mars Will be a Lot Bigger Than NASA’s Previous Efforts – Meet the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover

Friday, November 25th, 2011

When you’re on a mission to M/A/R/R/S, you gots to pump up the volume, like how NASA is doing with tomorrow’s launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

Check out this shot showing the size of the new rover’s wheels, via our California Academy of Sciences.

Three rover wheels at #NASAtweetup show the relative sizes for Curiosity, Spirit/Opportunity, and Pathfinder:

Click to expand

Check it:

Curiosity will be five times as large, and carry more than ten times the mass of scientific instruments as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit or Opportunity.”

Here’s a family portrait:


Bon Courage, NASA

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is preparing to set down a large, mobile laboratory — the rover Curiosity — using precision landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.

Curiosity will carry the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers. Its assignment: Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.

Plans for the Mars Science Laboratory call for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, between Nov. 25 and Dec.18, 2011, and arrival at Mars in August 2012.

The spacecraft has been designed to steer itself during descent through Mars’ atmosphere with a series of S-curve maneuvers similar to those used by astronauts piloting NASA space shuttles. During the three minutes before touchdown, the spacecraft slows its descent with a parachute, then uses retro rockets mounted around the rim of an upper stage. In the final seconds, the upper stage acts as a sky crane, lowering the upright rover on a tether to the surface.

Curiosity is about twice as long (about 3 meters or 10 feet) and five times as heavy as NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003. It inherited many design elements from them, including six-wheel drive, a rocker-bogie suspension system and cameras mounted on a mast to help the mission’s team on Earth select exploration targets and driving routes. Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity carries equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, process them and distribute them to onboard test chambers inside analytical instruments”

New Fling Chocolate Bar Tastes Surprisingly Good. Plus, It Cures Eczema

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Not too long ago Mars, Incorporated introduced a new “women’s candy bar” with an interesting, somewhat patronizing marketing campaign – read all about it here in a post from January 2009. But now that Fling’s available in stores, you can try it for yourself. And guess what, I’ve tried it myself, but I’ve got to be careful what I say because the United States Federal Trade Commission is working on new rules that would hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products. Oh noes! This is no April Fools joke – it was written up on CBS5 Eye on Blogs, so it must be true.

Now it just so happens that a few weeks back, Mars, Inc. sent a dump truck full of Fling Bars over here and filled up three of my spare garbage cans (yes I put new liners in first) full of these Twix-like “chocolate fingers.” Wow. First of all, they’re surprisingly good – lightweight and a little pricey for what you get but very tasty. Second of all, these Fling bars cure the skin disease excema! Cleared it right up – it was all gone by April 1st, can you believe it?!?

Mmmmmm…..fingers. Nothing wrong with the hazelnut version. Dee-lish:

Click to expand.

So, leave no doubt, I endorse Fling chocolate bars because they taste great (as well they should since they’re six times smaller than a regular chocobar) and also because they cure excema.

I must say, this encounter with viral marketing worked out much better than last time, when those phonies at Butler, Shine & Stern up in Marin County pulled their fake giant Indiana Jones Lego ball routine. Now let’s all hope I don’t get sued by the FTC.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Advertisers in the US are bracing themselves for regulatory changes that they fear will curtail their efforts to tap into the fast-growing online social media phenomenon.

Revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials by the Federal Trade Commission, now under review and expected to be adopted, would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products.


The guidelines would also hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products.


If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations.


“This impacts every industry and almost every single brand in our economy, and that trickles down into social media,” said Anthony DiResta, an attorney representing several advertising associations.


Advertisers have significantly increased spending on social media and word-of-mouth campaigns, even during the recession. Through blogs and services such as Facebook and Twitter, companies are able to communicate more directly with consumers. Spending on social media marketing reached $1.35bn in 2007 and is expected to reach $3.7bn by 2011, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.”

Scharffen Berger Chocolate: The Soul is For Hire, and They’ve Sold the Heart

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, R.I.P. But at least the Milton S. Hershey Company employees in Berkeley will get a “very competitive” severance package. (Isn’t the first thing you should ask at a job interview – how competitive is your severance package?)

Anyway, the free factory tour will always be remembered by yuppie foodies across the Bay Area. Take the virtual tour, while you can.

Fallen, fallen is Scharffen Berger the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality. Yea, it is broken, howl ye for it, take balm for her pain, if so be it may be healed. Click ye to expand:

This place is the bomb, a brick house built extra tough for the hazards of munitions manufacturing, its original purpose. See? A factory tour, head gear required:

If only they had had a marketing campaign with more fling and frivolity, like the way they do it over at Mars, Incorporated.

Also, Joseph Schmidt Confections, R.I.P.

Marketing 101 – New Fling(TM) Chocolate is Just for Girls

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

You’ve come a long way, baby. How do we know that? Well, we know that because just as Virginia Slims cigarettes are just for women, new Mars Fling chocolate treat things are just for women as well. So forget the mannish Mars Bar, you gots to get yourself some fling, girlfriend!

And how is Mars going to market these “decadent fingers?” With words, of course. Thusly:

Guiltless pleasure, giving women what they want, chocolate finger, playfully flirtatious, alluring, unapologetic in its desire to tempt, “naughty but not that naughty(TM)”, savor, guiltless bite, decadent finger, enrobed in shimmering, looks as good as the women who crave it, chocolate liberation, freeing every woman from the guilt of indulging in chocolate pleasure, there’s no need to commit, California women love indulging themselves, chocolate as their primary indulgence, given into their chocolate indulgence, can chocolate be a replacement for men?, California women confess they enjoy chocolate as much as passionate kissing, satisfying your chocolate craving is a sure investment, chocolate an affordable fling, indulgent “flings” such as drinking gourmet coffee, having girls’ nights out, and spa treatments, “Every woman desires a moment of the day just for herself, to let inhibitions go and to indulge in what she fancies,” said Thomas, Pinnau, Vice President of Indulgence, Mars Snackfood US, liberating ourselves from the guilt of indulging in what we desire,” unconventional and liberating tagline “naughty but not that naughty” — a unique description for a daily indulgence that every woman longs for, innuendo-laden headlines, celebrity events. 

They have more words, but you get the idea. By now you probably have more questions, like:

“How are fabulous FLING™ Chocolate Fingers so miraculously made?” or

“What makes it shimmer?”  [NB: Yes, your Fling bar comes speckled with bling. Think rock dust and you won’t be far off, but “girls” just can’t help loving shiny things, in the Land of Snackfoods and Indulgence. Mmmmm….mica.]

Check their website for more complete answers. Look for this “naughty” chocolate treat the next time you’re at a 7-11. No boys allowed.

Will Mars, Incorporated (named for the Roman God of War) change its name to Venus, Incorporated (named for the Goddess of Love) soon? We Can Only Hope.

[Update: Now we’re into Marketing 102 – check out the words seeded onto the Net by the search engine optimizers (SEO) of Mars, Inc. The idea is that people will plug these search terms into the Google and then get pointed to the Fling website. So, if this is your search term: girls night out, social networking, san francsisco [sp], then you might end up being directed to the Fling chocolate website. Is that what you want? Maybe not, but that’s what you get. Here are the hidden words that might fool your search engine:

title= Naughty…but not that naughty!

description content= Chocolate, lite chocolate, light chocolate, parties, spontaneity, treat, frivolous, fun, girls night out, social networking, sexy, fun, chocolate fun, meringue, truffle, truffle chocolate, shimmer, shimmering chocolate, mars chocolate, chocolate for women, women and chocolate, naughty chocolate, chocolate treat, lower calorie chocolate, low calorie chocolate

keywords= Chocolate, meringue, truffle, shimmer, light, lite, lite chocolate, light chocolate, shimmering chocolate, special treat, naughty chocolate, naughty treats, mars chocolate, women, chocolatey treat, packs, multipack, chocolate multipack, fingers, chocolate fingers, FLING™, FLING™ chocolate, party, spontaneity, frivolous, spirited, feminine, charming, chocolate treats, diet conscious, california, los angeles, san francsisco, west coast chocolate, hollywood

Oh well, you can’t fight Big Chocolate, can you? Despite all this SEO stuff, if your search phrase these days is simply fling chocolate then this is what you get, in order:

  • The Guru’s Guru: Fling Chocolate Bar *sigh*

    Jun 10, 2007 Fling Chocolate Bar *sigh*. A new chocolate bar ad has updated the fairytale of the beautiful Princess and her Prince Charming for the 21st – 26k – CachedSimilar pages
  • The San Francisco Citizen » Blog Archive » Marketing 101 – New

    Marketing 101 – New Fling(TM) Chocolate is Just for Girls “How are fabulous FLINGChocolate Fingers so miraculously made?” “What makes it shimmer? – 12k – CachedSimilar pages
  • 23rd Annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling • April 5, 2009 • Holiday Inn

    All Chocolate Lovers’ Fling proceeds benefit Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. For more information on volunteering, sponsorship or – 11k – CachedSimilar pages
  • Candy Addict » Candy Review: Fling… chocolate with no strings

    I came to Australia in July and tried a Fling bar one night when I was on a chocolate craving encounter. It was the best candy I’ve ever had. – 43k – CachedSimilar pages
  • Fling Chocolate: Forever Is Overrated

    Oct 9, 2007 This is too funny not to share: Check out Fling Chocolate’s (Australia?) advertising campaign and tell me what you think! – 65k – CachedSimilar pages
  • FLING™ Naughty…but not that naughty!

    Chocolate, lite chocolate, light chocolate, parties, spontaneity, treat, frivolous, fun, girls night out, social networking, sexy, fun, chocolate fun, – 5k – CachedSimilar pages
  • See? Fling is only ranked #6. But fear not, Mars, Inc. people, Google probably considers your website the best result for that search term, so they’ll fix things and soon you’ll be number 1. Congrats.]