Green fingers

August 16, 1996

Adrian James, a scientist at University College London, is confident that his new device (a fast omni-directional non-scanning energy mass analyser) will be safe with aircraft baggage handlers when he flies it out to Russia at the weekend to join the November mission to Mars.

The instrument is the fruit of eight years' work and around half a million pounds of investment but he says he is confident that, if he cannot take it as hand baggage, United Kingdom air staff will treat it well. His confidence about Russian baggage-handlers is less robust but he says: "You design it so it can take the knocks and hopefully it is not the worst knock it will see." Presumably he thinks that little green men are even less co-ordinated.

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