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Reuters Science News Summary

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Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Carrier rocket fault caused failure of Russian spacecraft

A Russian mission to resupply the International Space Station failed because of a fault with the carrier rocket, the head of Roscosmos space agency said on Tuesday. The Russian Progress M-27M cargo ship, carrying almost three tonnes (2,722 kg) of supplies, burned up in the Earth's atmosphere last week after ground crews lost control of the freighter shortly after it launched on April 28.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, others look at keeping Atlas 5 rocket in use

Aerojet Rocketdyne and two other firms on Monday said they are exploring options to obtain data rights to the Atlas 5 launch vehicle and to swap its Russian-built engine with the AR1 engine that Aerojet Rocketdyne is developing. The Pentagon is scrambling to comply with a U.S. law that bans use after 2019 of the Russian RD-180 rocket engine that fuels the Atlas 5 rocket for military and intelligence satellite launches. Congress passed the law after Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine last year.

Cyborg beetles to the rescue

In the wake of the devastating Nepal earthquake, researchers are hard at work developing the next generation of search and rescue tools in the hopes of saving more lives in the aftermath of deadly natural disasters. At a laboratory in Singapore, a researcher uses a joystick to control the movements of a giant beetle in flight. As the researcher moves his controller left and right, radio waves are sent to a wireless receiver fitted onto the beetle's back, which activates nanowires to stimulate a small muscle in the its wing. Depending on the signal the beetle turns accordingly.

Merck KGaA, Threshold win fast track for pancreatic cancer drug

Germany's Merck KGaA said that experimental cancer drug evofosfamide, which it is jointly developing with Threshold Pharmaceuticals, won fast track status for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Merck had licensed in evofosfamide, previously known as TH-302, from Threshold in 2012.

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