theoretically ...

NASA's second rocket to Mars, the Mars Pathfinder, should have taken off at 6.09 GMT this morning - assuming all went well. This was the only time NASA had for a launch today, though there is a 24-day "launch window" lasting until 31 December. Pathfinder is due to arrive on Mars on 4 July next year. It will investigate the Martian atmosphere and surface weather, and use a small six-wheeled rover to investigate the terrain around the spacecraft, and the geology and elemental composition of rocks and soil there.

The relaunch of the Cluster project, lost when Ariane 5 blew up, is all systems go - providing national governments come up with the funding. On this page last week we forecast that the European Space Agency would probably give Phoenix the go-ahead. Now it needs the Department of Trade and Industry to stump up pounds 7m over four years to refit the experiments for launch. Watch this space.

Don't get nervous - but anxiety seems to have a genetic component. A report in last week's Science magazine found that levels of neuroticism correlated with two different variants of a gene that encodes a protein critically involved in controlling levels of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. An investigation of 505 people found that this genetic variation accounted for about 4 per cent of variation in anxiety-related traits. A small difference, but the sort that could nag away at the back of your mind.

Odd, isn't it, how there are more organic compounds with an even number of carbon atoms than an odd number? That's the observation by a five-strong international team. And they ask: could that fact mean something? In the latest Nature, they report how a database of nearly 7 million organic compounds shows that, in general, even numbers of carbon atoms are significantly more common than the adjacent odd numbers. "Could there be some underlying parity rule that is yet to be discovered?" they ask. Any answers?

A mauve carnation can be yours. Florigene, an Australian biotechnology company, has spent $A25 million (about pounds 12 million) and a decade of research to produce one, using genetic engineering. It is the first step towards a range of genetically engineered blue flowers - including the long sought- after blue rose. The company isolated the gene responsible for blue flower pigmentation in 1991. The new flowers will cost about twice as much as normal carnations, but no doubt smell as sweet.

The Internet is bad for science, suggest two researchers at MIT. They point out in Science that it tends to produce specialists who don't stray out of their own areas. "If information technology helps an algebraic topologist spend more time interacting with colleagues globally, what happens to his or her interactions with the computer scientist, the biologist or the graduate student down the hall?" they ask - pointing out that the theory dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite strike came from the collaboration of a geologist and physicist.

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?