THE MARS CLUB +1:

The Russian Federal Space Agency's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft is now on its way to Phobos, the biggest moon orbiting Mars. When it arrives in 2013 it will pick up a soil sample and send it back to Earth. The craft is carrying the Chinese Yinghuo-1 satellite and instruments from France, Finland, Bulgaria, and a non-profit space research group. Mars is sure the cool place to be this year — NASA have just found a bunch of new and different Mars rocks, and now the Russian Federal Space Agency are on their way too. Follow the mission: @Phobos-Grunt.

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MINICAM: If you like to always keep a camera to hand but find even your cellphone is too huge and clunky you might like the JTT CHOBi CAM Pro. It records jpg images that are 4032 × 3024 pixels. It records HD video  —  1280 x 720 pixels at 30fps. The microSDHC / SD Card can hold up to 64 GB. Charge the battery and transfer images via USB, and send video out to TV via the AV output port. But its biggest feature is its tiny size: at 43 × 21 × 12mm you could actually lose it in your pocket. Maybe hang it round your neck like a pendant? Details at Far East Gizmos.

OPEN DOOR PRISONS: The point of a prison is to keep people in, so it's a bit alarming that hackers can open prison doors remotely. Researchers found a vulnerability in computer systems used to control facilities at US federal prisons. They found they could open cell doors and shut down comms systems remotely and with cheap equipment. Authorities have confirmed their research. The researchers found that almost all the control systems were associated with an Internet connection. I hope they fixed the vulnerability before telling the world about it. ArsTechnica.

GECKO FEET ARE STRONG: Researchers from the University of Kiel in Germany created a new dry adhesive tape patterned with tiny hairs. It can be used thousands of times without losing its grip thanks to the Van der Waals forces it relies on for its stickiness. The forces operate at a molecular level, and are what allow a gecko to stick to walls and ceilings. The silicone tape leaves no sticky residue and works underwater. What we really want to know is: does it make the same noise as velcro?   New Scientist. Gizmag has details.

SUNS ALIVE!: Physicists in Europe are planning the world's biggest and most intense laser, 200 times more powerful than the most powerful lasers that currently exist. The Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility will produce 200 petawatts of power for less than a trillionth of a second. 200 petawatts is more than 100,000 times the power of the world's combined electricity production. Wide laser beams will be focused down to a tiny spot, producing conditions so extreme they don't exist even in the centre of our sun. Scientists hope to be able to study particles of matter and antimatter torn apart by the intensity of the beam. Be careful where you aim that thing. More at Telegraph.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz