Ask Mr Brain...all will be explained

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 February, 1999, 12:00am

The Russains never made it to the moon. Why? The Soviet space programme lost momentum after its mastermind Sergei Korolev died in 1966. While the US was moon-crazy, pouring about three per cent of the entire federal budget into the space programme, the Soviets were more interested in making bombs.

Their missile obsession can be traced to American superiority in making aircraft.

Since the Soviets lacked long- range bombers, they decided to build inter-continental missiles that could reach targets in the West.

What causes the toenail on the little toe to become very hard and deformed? The deformity is the result of bad footwear, says an expert, and affects mostly women. Your fifth toenail seems stronger because of its size.

The big toenail is actually thicker but because it's wider it doesn't seem as hard.

Actually you don't need your little toe. But your first toe - the thumb of the foot - is an important stabiliser.

What causes lightning? Lightning is generated by the discharge of static electricity between two clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. A flash occurs when a large-enough charge has built up within a cloud, and this heats the air so rapidly that it suddenly expands, producing thunder.

When do mirages occur? Mirages occur when sharp differences in temperature and therefore in density develop between thin layers of air at and immediately above the ground. This causes light to be bent, or refracted, as it travels through one layer to the next. As a result the relationship between objects and the horizon become distorted. During the day, when a warm layer occurs next to the ground, objects near the horizon often appear to be reflected in flat surfaces such as beaches, deserts, roads and water. This produces the shimmering, floating images.