NASA has finally repaired long-standing problems with the Curiosity Rover’s drill. But it takes quite a bit of hard work and determination to fix a device that’s located on the planet of Mars, more than 54.6 million kilometers away from the device’s design team on Earth.
“The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet,” said Steve Lee, Curiosity Deputy Project Manager of JPL, to the press. “Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful.”
Back in December 2016, Curiosity Rover’s drill began stalling. This rendered the Martian explorer unusable for long periods of time, stuck on the side of Mount Sharp for just over a fortnight. Originally, the Rover had electrical problems due to faulty wiring, so the drill malfunction was just the latest episode in a long string of issues with the device.
But if anyone could solve the issue, it would be JPL. “We’ve been developing this new drilling technique for over a year, but our job isn’t done once a sample has been collected on Mars,” said Tom Green, the mission scientist. “With each new test, we closely examine the data to look for improvements we can make and then head back to our testbed to iterate on the process.”
After the successful (fingers crossed) completion of this phase, NASA’s scientist will move on to manipulating the rover’s cameras. They need to get a ballpark figure of how much dust is coming out of the drill when it moves backward. The drill also has the ability to independently release the dust. If all goes well, and the scientists are able to get an idea of exactly how much dust can be taken for analysis by Curiosity’s testing hold, the next phase will include analysis of the Martian sample dust by the Rover.
Simple Home Repair Hacks You Need if You’re Not Handy
We’ve all been in situations where we would benefit from a simple home repair hack. Whether it’s pesky marks on the walls, greasy stains on the furniture, or constant tears in the screen door – our households are constantly in need of a quick fix. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to patch up your home without spending a fortune. Lots of these simple home hacks use household products you already have, so let’s hit two birds with one stone and get our homes in order.
Cooking Spray On Squeaky Cabinets
Squeaky doors and cabinets can get real annoying, real quick. Sure, they don’t necessarily cause any problems other than an irritating noise, but from where we’re standing, we’d like to live with as few irritations as possible.
When it comes time to tackle squeaky cabinets or creaky doors, there’s no need to reach for the WD-40 spray. Instead, take a little cooking spray and apply straight to the hinges. Then, sit back and enjoy the newfound silence.
Nail Polish on Screws
Nail polish is a pretty wondrous product, especially clear nail polish. Many women know that the beauty product can be used to stop runs in pantyhose, but it also has multiple uses around the home. And of course, it makes a great top coat for a manicure.
When it comes to using screws in your home, sometimes they get a bit loose and don’t stay in place. It turns out that painting the screw with nail polish acts like glue, making it more likely to stay put.
Crayons in Nail Holes
Most people’s homes are littered with nail holes, either from a previous tenant or from their own family. These little holes in the wall can be annoying, especially if they make the clean white wall they’re on look less than perfect. Well, one way to disguise these little eyesores is by using a crayon.
For this home hack, choose a crayon that closely matches whatever wall you’re trying to improve. Simply color over the hole with firm pressure – it’s actually quite fun.
Use Tape While Caulking
Regardless of the context, we’ll always be amused by the word “caulk.” For those unfamiliar with the wonderful world of caulking, caulk is a waterproof sealant used in building work and home repairs. However, it can get a little messy for lesser practiced caulkers.
Apparently, the best way to get a straight edge while caulking is to use tape. However, this isn’t like using tape when painting – in the case of caulk, tape must be removed when the caulk is still wet.
Unscrew Bulbs with a Potato
Yes, you did read that right – we recommend unscrewing light bulbs using a potato, or half a potato to be precise. This simple home hack is for broken lightbulbs, as retrieving one with your fingers is a sure way to get a hand covered in cuts.
In order to remove a broken bulb from its socket, take half a potato and push it into the bulb. Turn the potato counter clockwise so that the glass goes into the potato. And remember – turn off the power!
Rubber Bands to Remove Screws
Unfortunately, sometimes the tops of screws can become so damaged or bored out that a screwdriver or drill can’t extract them. This is because they can’t get a good enough grip, leaving you with screws stuck in walls, doors, or furniture.
One way to get around this is to use a humble rubber band. Simply place the band over the head of the screw, and then use slow, firm pressure to get it out. The band adds extra friction, meaning the screw should come out.
Use Soap in Nail Holes
We’ve already talked about nail holes and their uncanny ability to ruin entire walls. If you don’t have any crayons to hand, then try using a bar of soap instead. For white walls, go for a basic bar of white soap, and for other colors, try and find a bar of soap that matches.
Simply rub the soap in a circular motion over the hole until it’s completely filled in. Use a rag or a warm wet cloth to wipe away excess soap.
Use a Bumper on Cabinets
Bumpers are handy little devices that can be used in various easy home hacks. If you’re sick of your cabinet doors slamming every time you close them, then pop a door bumper inside and enjoy the silence instead.
This simple hack can also be used for drawers that are constantly slammed shut. Just add a bumper and you won’t have to suffer the sound of rattling or slamming again. For this handy home hack, your ears will thank you.
Baby Powder on Squeaky Floors
Baby powder is another one of those products that has multiple uses. Sure, it’s great when changing diapers, but did you know it also absorbs excess grease and works just like dry shampoo? You’re welcome.
When it comes to home hacks, baby powder is a great fix for squeaky floors. These are usually caused by wood rubbing together, and can be silenced by squeezing some baby powder between floorboards. Use a small squeeze bottle and then push the powder further in using a makeup brush.
Ice Cubes on Carpet Dents
There are pros and cons when it comes to carpets vs hard floors, and people can be opinionated about their preferred option. One of the drawbacks of carpeted flooring is that it can get dented from large pieces of furniture, leaving little concave marks on the floor.
To address this, simply set an ice cube on top of the dent and let it melt. As the water absorbs, the carpet springs back to normal. Afterward, use a hard-bristled brush to fluff it up.
Hot Iron Your Wood Dents
Now, carpets aren’t the only type of flooring with dents – wooden floors are also susceptible. Likewise, furniture that’s made from wood can also end up with dents here and there. But how to fix them?
Well, hardwood dents can be quickly removed using a hot iron. First, wet the dent with a small bit of water, and then put a moist towel on top. Iron over the area in a circular motion, and the dent should lift.
WD40 on Crayon Scribbles
WD40 is a water displacing spray that has five functions – displacing moisture, lubrication, cleaning, protection, and permeation. As you might imagine, this gives the product a huge amount of uses within the home.
One of those is removing crayon or marker scribbles from walls. Simply wipe of the markings using a little of the product. Note – this home hack only works on paint with a sheen, because WD-40 on matte paint can actually stain the walls further. For matte paint, use a Magic Eraser.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner on Grout
Most people that do DIY jobs around their home come face to face with grout at some point. The dense material is used to fill gaps, and is usually present in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas with tiles.
Grout can get a little grubby, but it can be cleaned fairly easily. Try using toilet bowl cleaner on your grout, and leaving it for 15 minutes. Scrub the treated grout with a toothbrush and then mop or wash with warm water.
Soap for Leg Cramps
OK, bear with us, because this home hack sounds pretty wild. Apparently, many people agree that putting a bar of soap under your bedsheet is the best way to get rid of leg cramps at night. Now, nobody really understands why this works, leading to some people concluding that it’s just the placebo effect.
However, others think this hack works because of something to do with magnesium or ions. Fans of this trick recommend using soap with a high level of purity.
Kool-Aid in the Toilet
From soap in the sheets to Kool-Aid in the toilet, this list brings you all sorts of wacky home hacks that work. Apparently, flavored drink mix Kool-Aid is a good way of figuring out if you have a leaky toilet. Just pick up a sachet of a dark colored flavor of the drink.
To try it, take the lid off your toilet tank and pour in the Kool-Aid. After 30 minutes, if your toilet bowl is Kool-Aid colored, then you have a leak. Remember not to flush!
Experiment with Aluminum Foil Fingers
For people that live in a cold climate, it can be a real pain to try and use your phone while also wearing gloves. Yes, you can buy gloves that are specially made for phone use, but wouldn’t you rather hack your way to the same outcome?
By simply putting a small piece of aluminum foil over each finger, your hands will transform from glove wrapped appendages to super functional fingers. This hack is obviously much cheaper than buying a new pair of gloves.
Unclog Your Own Drains
When it comes to drains in the bathtub or the shower, nobody likes to stand ankle deep waiting for their fetid water to disappear down the hair filled plug hole.
In order to unclog your drains without using bleach or any harsh chemicals, you can whip up your own at home solution. Pour boiling water down the drain, followed by ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of white wine vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with more boiling water.
Bread and Vinegar in the Garbage
Trash cans get pretty stinky, even if they’re regularly emptied. However, there is one way to refresh your garbage can overnight, leaving it free of any residual pong. To try this home repair hack, get yourself a paper towel or a sheet of parchment paper, a slice of bread, and some vinegar.
With an empty trash can, pour the vinegar onto the bread and set it on the paper towel or parchment inside. Leave this overnight, and return to a much fresher trash can.
Combat Trash Can Suction
While we’re talking about trash cans, let’s take a moment to deal with trash can suction problems. This can happen to the best of us, but happens more frequently to people who continue to stuff trash into the garbage when it’s clearly already full.
Rather than tugging at the trash bag and risking it tearing everywhere, drill a hole into the side (not bottom) of the plastic liner instead. This hole will release suction but prevent any nasty leaks.
Dish Soap in the Bath
Cleaning the bathroom can be a grueling process, with stray hairs, nasty stains and mysterious residue everywhere. Once you’ve scrubbed the toilet and mopped the floors, you might have lost energy for tackling the bath itself. After all, it’s so big.
Well, there’s no need to get on your hands and knees to clean the bath. Instead, cover the bath with dish soap and use a broom to scrub off soap scum and mildew. Trust us, it works a treat.
Use Foil as a Funnel
When we were kids, there were funnels all over the place. They were at school, they were in board games, and they came with various toys. Nowadays, we hardly ever see funnels at all. What’s that about? Where did all the funnels go?
The next time you find yourself needing to pour some liquid into a bottle – or some similar funnel related conundrum – just roll some aluminum foil into a funnel shape and pour it through that. Voila, problem solved!
Use Foil to Remove Rust
While we’re talking about aluminum foil, the everyday item also comes in handy for other household hacks. If you have something at home that’s covered in rust, then grab yourself a sheet of aluminum foil and get polishing.
Apparently it’s best to clean your rusty item first with a microfiber towel and some soapy water. Then, dip your aluminum foil into clean water, and then rub it onto your item. That pesky rust should wipe away before your very eyes.
Rubber Bands on the Doors
If you have a front door that latches shut when it closes, there’s a handy home hack that can help with that. If you’re going in and out with groceries, you mightn’t want the door to keep slamming shut, and this hack prevents exactly that.
Simply take a couple of rubber bands and loop them, one by one, around the outside door handle, and around to the inside door handle. Avoid the latch and lock while doing this, and the bands will work as a bumper.
Tape Measure to Find Studs
Did you know that tape measures have other functions as well as measuring? Well, if you look closely at your tape measure, you might notice that it has small black diamonds at an interval. On other measuring tapes, some numbers are in red while the others are black.
The reason for this? Well, if you line the black diamonds up against your wall, they should help you find the location of the studs inside. Who knew?
Nail Polish on the Screen
We’ve already remarked that nail polish is an excellent product when it comes to hacks, and here we have yet more proof. We mentioned that clear nail polish is great for stopping runs in pantyhose, and this household hack uses basically the same logic.
If you find a pesky tear in your screen door, you can stop it spreading by adding a few drops of clear nail polish. The sticky liquid works like glue, and should stay fairly invisible.
Vinegar on the Shower Head
Vinegar is another of those handy, multi-use household products and it crops up time and time again in lists of household hacks. When you think about it, this makes total sense. After all, vinegar is highly acidic, and must have been a useful item to use before the widespread use of manufactured cleaning products.
To remove grime and mineral deposits from your shower head – or other bathroom surfaces – soak it in vinegar overnight. Soon enough it will be sparkling clean.
Pool Noodle as a Bumper
We’ve mentioned bumpers several times on this list, and that’s because they’re a great way to get added protection without doing lots of work. In this case, a pool noodle makes a great bumper, especially when it comes to proofing hard edges.
To make a pool noodle bumper for your car, cut a noodle in half and screw it to your garage door at the height of your car door. This way, you’ll never bang your car door on the wall again.
Squeegees for Pet Hair
We all love our four legged best friends, but lots of them leave tons of hair strewn all over the carpet. With a long haired cat or a fluffy dog, even a carpet that’s regularly vacuumed will get grimy after a few days. One way to solve that? With the humble squeegee.
Usually reserved for cleaning windows, a squeegee is great at removing extra hair from the carpet. Rub the tool across the carpet in small sections and then pick up the resulting pile of hair.
Check Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that you can lower your heating and cooling costs just by adjusting your ceiling fan? Apparently, in the winter, fans should move in a clockwise direction at a low speed so that they pull warm air up and around the room.
Conversely, during the warmer months, ceiling fans should move in a counter clockwise direction in order to push the cold air down. Lots of fans have a switch or a panel to change their direction, so this is simple hack!
Bubble Wrap on Windows
When it gets cold, thin windows really make your home even colder. One way to address this is to line your windows with bubble wrap, which keeps the heat in. Admittedly, this isn’t a look that everyone will warm to (excuse the pun), but it can be used on windows that are out of the way.
For this heat-saving hack, wet your window with a little water and just stick the bubble wrap to the glass. This cheap hack will keep you toasty.
Prevent Drain Build Up
Unfortunately, when more than one person uses a shower, it’s just a matter of time before the drain gets clogged with a mixture of hair and hair conditioner. Nobody wants to pick that concoction out with their fingers, so why not try the TubShroom instead?
Using this product saves a ton of unclogging time, so it’s no wonder the product has a cult following. The TubShroom claims to catch every single hair, and means that you don’t need to use harsh chemicals.
Use Coffee as a Degreaser
Many coffee drinkers are left with coffee grounds once they’ve enjoyed their favorite caffeinated beverage, but what can you do with them? As well as making a pretty good body exfoliant (seriously – the caffeine is good for your skin), it turns out that coffee grounds are also good for cleaning the bathtub.
Simply rub some coffee grounds into bath tub residue and it will gently buff it away. Then just rinse the mixture with warm water, and you’re ready to go.
Essential Oils on Furniture
Understandably, many people reach straight for the furniture polish when it comes time to clean the furniture. However, there are other options, including those that don’t include harsh chemicals. For example, why not try using essential oils?
Apparently, lemon essential oil is great at polishing dark wood, and tea tree oil also works as a repellent for any little creatures that might be chomping on your furniture. As well as polishing the furniture, these oils also remove stains and spots.
Toothpaste for Small Scratches
While you’re buffing your furniture with essential oils, you might come across a small scratch or two. But don’t panic, we have a handy home repair hack for that too. For small scratches, simply go to the bathroom and fetch yourself a regular tube of toothpaste.
Take a pea sized amount of a non-gel toothpaste and rub it on the scratch in a circular motion. Once you’ve buffed out the scratch, clean off the residue with a damp towel.
Cooking Oil for Label Residue
There are all sorts of reasons that a person might want to use a jar, but what about the label that’s already stuck to it? We’ve all been there, hopelessly trying to pick off a label that shows absolutely no signs of going anywhere. The result? An ugly, half picked label that totally ruins the jar it’s stuck to.
Not anymore! Next time this happens, take a cotton pad and apply some cooking oil. Rub the pad on the sticky area, let it sit, and then wipe.
Vinegar in the Microwave
It’s vinegar time again, and this time we’re putting it in the microwave. Next time you notice that your microwave has been splattered in some mystery liquids, stay away from harsh products and reach for your trusty bottle of vinegar instead.
To clean a microwave using white vinegar, place a bowl of it in the microwave for five minutes on high. The resulting steam will loosen all the dried gunk on the internal walls, which you can then wipe clean.
Tongs to Clean the Blinds
Window blinds can be a pesky thing to clean. Each individual blind slat picks up dust, meaning that each individual slat has to be cleaned. If this is done with a regular duster, it takes ages, so we have a handy home repair hack that takes half the time.
To clean your blinds in half the time, wrap a dish towel around a pair of tongs and secure with a rubber band. This means you can dust both sides of the slat at once.
Mouthwash in the Toilet Bowl
Did you know that mouthwash Listerine was first invented as a floor cleaner? Later, the company invented the illness “halitosis” – or bad breath – in order to sell the minty liquid. Now, we’re suggesting tossing a capful of the stuff down the toilet instead of polluting the water ways with bleach.
To use mouthwash as a toilet cleaner, pour a capful in the toilet bowl and let it sit for half an hour. When it gets to scrubbing time, the grime will come right off.
Alka-Seltzer in the Pan
Cleaning pans and skillets can be a difficult task, especially after preparing certain meals. Plus, after watching Dark Waters, we’re even more aware of the dodgy chemicals used to coat our homeware. We don’t to accidentally scrape our Teflon skillet with a fork.
Instead of futile scrubbing, let an Alka-Seltzer tablet do the work for you. Fill your pan with hot water, drop in the tablet, and let it sit for 15 minutes. By that time, everything should wipe off easily.
Dish Soap in the Blender
It can be a little frightening to hand wash a blender – nobody wants to just stick their hand into a container with a sharp blade. Furthermore, many blenders aren’t suitable for dishwashers, and it’s important to get all those bits of food debris out.
Instead of washing your blender by hand, take some dish soap and let it clean itself. Put some soap and warm water in the blender, turn on the machine, and let it give itself a soapy rinse.