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Submission + - Curiosity uses Brush; almost Hammer Time! (

Sez Zero writes: Nasa's Mars rover Curiosity has used its brush tool for the first time to sweep dust off the surface of a rock. Brushing away the dust gives the robot's survey instruments a clearer view of the texture and chemistry of the underlying rock.

Curiosity is building towards using its hammer-drill, the last major tool yet to be deployed on the mission.


Submission + - Russian space freighter lost (

Sez Zero writes: An unmanned freighter launched to the International Space Station (ISS) has been lost.

The Russian space agency has confirmed the Progress M-12M cargo ship was not placed in the correct orbit by its rocket and fell back to Earth.

The vessel was carrying 2.5 tonnes of supplies for the ISS astronauts.

With the retirement of the US space shuttle, there is now a critical reliance on the robotic freighters to keep the station supplied.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department