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An electric oven uses one kilowatt-hour of electricity in about 20 minutes, but one kilowatt-hour will power a TV for 3 hours, run a 100-watt bulb for 12 hours, and keep an electric clock ticking for 3 months.

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2Phobos Grunt, the Russian Mars probe that's been stuck in a precipitously low Earth orbit for a fortnight, has finally been contacted by a European Space Agency ground station in Perth, Australia. It is unclear, however, if this means the craft and its intricate Martian soil-sampling mission can be rescued.


The spacecraft was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 8 November on an ambitious mission to sample soil from the Martian moon Phobos - and return it to Earth. But Phobos Grunt's main engines did not fire to project it out of Earth orbit to Mars - and this was compounded by an inability to contact the craft to reprogram the computers that fire those engines when the craft is correctly oriented.

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