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What the papers say

NASA's jet propulsion laboratory is developing a robotic impact mole to take soil samples from below the surface of Mars. Powered by surface mounted solar panels, engineers expect the mole to be able to burrow 10m/d looking for Martian aquifers and tunnelling into ice caps to study climate history.

Architects at the University of Bath have developed a mathematical model for designing structures based on bones and skeletons.

Designed by Chris Williams and Emma Nsugbe, the approach uses a single equation to describe a whole smooth bone-like structure, such as a bridge.

Archaeologists have found evidence in the Black Sea that Noah's flood actually happened. A man made structure has been found off the coast of Turkey, suggesting that the area was inhabited until about 7,500 years ago, when it was flooded from the Mediterranean. Evidence suggests farmers were forced to flee, but it is unclear whether the flood was instantaneous or a gradual event.

Police are investigating allegations of fraud in some of the 2,800 contracts on the troubled Millennium Dome. The allegations relate to an unnamed contractor and are being investigated by Scotland Yard's SO6 fraud squad.

The World Bank has warned of growing environmental dangers in eastern Europe and central Asia. Air quality has suffered in many urban areas as a result of rapidly growing vehicle use and natural resource exploitation.

A Government taskforce is planning to spend £25M on a telescope system to give early warning of asteroids heading for the earth. This would form the first stage in a programme to investigate ways to knock the asteroids off collision course using nuclear missiles.

The Russian electricity company, Unified Energy Systems, which is owed £5bn by its customers, has taken to cutting off people who fail to pay up. This has already caused a baby to die and has led to the army seizing power stations to re-connect their barracks.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber has called for the Millennium Dome to be burned down. The composer suggests recouping costs for the dome by charging TV companies and visitors to view its destruction.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has barred Mike O'Brien - minister in charge of freedom of information - from access to the financial details of the £750M Birmingham Northern Relief Road. The scheme runs through O'Brien's constituency and he has backed protesters who took the Government to court to release details of the scheme. The protestors won a ruling giving Prescott discretion to release the information, which he refused, citing commercial confidentiality.

Edinburgh is to implement a £1M package to deal with the aftermath of April's floods in the city and prevent future flooding. The plan includes flood barriers, drain unblocking and research into flood prevention schemes.

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