Reuters Science News Summary

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Mini planet found far beyond Earth's solar system

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - - Astronomers have found a mini planet beyond our solar system that is the smallest of more than 800 extra-solar planets discovered, scientists said on Wednesday. The planet, known as Kepler-37b, is one of three circling a yellow star similar to the sun that is located in the constellation Lyra, about 210 light years away. One light year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km).

India to launch mission to Mars this year, says president

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will launch its first mission to Mars this year, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday, as the emerging Asian nation looks to play catch up in the global space race alongside the United States, Russia and its giant neighbor China. "Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite," Mukherjee told parliament.

NASA Mars rover ready to eat, analyze rock powder

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, dispatched to learn if the planet ever had ingredients for life, drilled its first bit of powder from inside a potentially water-formed ancient rock, scientists said on Wednesday. The robotic geology station, which landed inside a giant impact basin on August 6 for a two-year mission, transferred about a tablespoon of rock powder from its drill into a scoop, pictures relayed by the rover Wednesday showed.

"Vulcan" has big lead in bid to name Pluto's newly discovered moons 2013-02-21T000441Z_1_BRE91K007_RTROPTC_0_US-SPACE-PLUTO-MOON.XM L () -