Russia Liable for Failed Mars Mission

A Russian space probe on its way to Mars, currently stuck in Earth's orbit, will fall back to Earth along with stores of toxic fuel. Under international law, Russia is liable for damages.

What's the Latest Development?

The Russian space probe Phobos-Grunt was just on its way to Mars last week when a malfunction trapped it in Earth's orbit. Communication problems have since prevented Russia's space agency from repairing the craft and it will soon reenter Earth's atmosphere uncontrollably. It is the third time in as many months that a large man-made object could fall from space and impact the surface of the Earth. But the Phobo-Grunt probe is differentit carries large amounts of toxic fuel on board.

What's the Big Idea?

An uncontrolled reentry implies that officials are uncertain about when and where the craft will impact Earth. The Outer Space Treat of 1967, expanded upon by the Liability Convention of 1972, 'applies a strict liability standard where the launching state is held strictly liable for any damage caused by a space object even in the face of circumstances that are outside its control'. It is possible that Russia may ask the U.S. to shoot down the probe to prevent an uncontrolled reentry, though diplomatic barriers may exist to such a request.

Photo credit:

The connection paradox: Why are workplaces more isolating than ever?

How poor work practices turn us all into remote workers.

  • Technology's supposed interconnectivity doesn't breed human interaction, and has instead made many workers feel less happy and less productive.
  • Using email rather than walking over to someone's desk and having face-to-face time is a major culprit. Inter-office messaging apps can also make employees feel more distant from their co-workers.
  • Can the tech companies who created this issue turn workplace isolation around, or is this the new normal?
Keep reading Show less

Study: young men obsessed with building muscles have higher mental health risks

They're at a higher risk for depression, weekend binge drinking, and unnecessary dieting.

Palestinian participants flex their muscles during a bodybuilding competition in Gaza city on October 28, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Body dysmorphia is not limited to women, a new study from Norway and Cambridge shows.
  • Young men that focus on building muscle are at risk for a host of mental and physical health problems.
  • Selfie culture is not helping the growing number of teens that are anxious and depressed.
Keep reading Show less

Intimacy and sexual desire in couples can be heightened by this practice

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Sex & Relationships
  • Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
  • The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
  • Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Keep reading Show less