Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

Nasa Bends The Rules To Get Two Rovers To Mars

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Space is a premium in space. So NASA ended up folding two rovers inside a shipping container, and then unfolding them when they landed. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on June 9.


If They Want To Make Anything, Proteins Must Know How To Fold

Friday, June 27, 2014

As part of the series "Unfolding Science," NPR's Joe Palca presents the science of protein folding. A properly folded protein keeps you alive; a misfolded protein can kill you.


A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This technique for manipulating genes borrows a strategy from the way bacteria fight viruses. It's still experimental, but the possibilities excite medical researchers hoping to tailor treatments.


How Did The Meter Get Its Length?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The U.S. doesn't routinely use the metric system. The U.S. government definition of a foot is 0.3048 meters. But if the length of a foot is based on the meter, what's the length of the meter based on?


To Put Two Rovers On Mars, Scientists Had To Get Clever With Packing

Monday, June 09, 2014

To fit in their shipping container, two Mars rovers had to be folded up into a tiny package and then unfolded — a prime example of what NPR science correspondent Joe Palca calls "unfolding science."


Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Speech patterns change when people enter the manic phase of bipolar disorder, doctors say. A smartphone app might be able to detect those shifts and improve treatment.


The First American Teenager, Millennia-Old And Underwater

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DNA from the skeleton of a 12,000-year-old teenage girl found on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula shows that today's Native Americans are descended from Siberians who spread southward across North America.


Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Noah Shaw was diagnosed with a potentially fatal cancer when he was just 4 months old. That didn't shake his father's faith in God. But it did drive him to try to invent an early cancer test.


Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The parents of a young boy made a terrible discovery while looking through photographs they had taken of him as a baby. They noticed a white dot where a black pupil should have been.

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Drought-Stricken Texas Town Turns To Toilets For Water

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Wichita Falls may soon be one of the first cities in the nation where half the drinking water comes directly from wastewater. It will save water, but some residents find the process tough to swallow.


Eyewire: A Computer Game to Map the Eye

Monday, May 05, 2014

MIT scientist Sebastien Seung at MIT invented the game to help him make a map of the cells in the mammalian retina. A year later, he says the game is producing valuable science.


Dartmouth Celebrates 50 Years Of BASIC Computer Language

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The new programming language, developed five decades ago, didn't require code to be entered on punch cards. It also allowed computer novices to begin programming without a lot of academic training.


The Scientist Who Makes Stars On Earth

Thursday, March 06, 2014

An astrophysicist is using something called the Z machine at Sandia National Lab to recreate the conditions on a white dwarf star — only for a few nanoseconds, but still, enough to study.


To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Removing bacteria and other impurities from water could be done more cheaply thanks to researchers at MIT. They're taking advantage of the way trees move water to filter it.


Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives

Monday, February 03, 2014

Students at Rice University designed a low-cost medical device to help premature infants breathe. The instrument, which uses a cheap aquarium pump, boosted the survival rate of newborns with respiratory problems by 60 percent at a rural hospital in Malawi.


Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Students at Rice University in Houston are finding low-cost solutions to big global health problems. The women running the program are hoping to get these young engineers hooked on helping. One particularly successful device that helps infants breathe has already been tested in Malawi and will be distributed to hospitals around the country.


How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A research chemist applied his analytical smarts to his son's eye cancer. By analyzing family photos starting with some taken just a few days after birth, the dad found that signs of retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, could be detected quite early.


Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cut a tumor from a child's brain and you may save a life. But surgery can hurt the child if healthy brain cells are removed. A Seattle doctor is working on a substance that might help. It binds tightly to cancer cells and makes them glow, so they're easier to distinguish from healthy tissue.


NASA's Latest Mission To The Moon Is On Track

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer is on its way to the Moon. It lifted off on time Friday night from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Some early software problems have been successfully resolved.


Communications Gear Hitches Ride With Lunar Probe

Friday, September 06, 2013

A satellite is scheduled to take off for the Moon Friday — carrying an instrument that could represent the future of deep space communication. Instead of sending data back to earth using radio waves, the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration will use pulsed light waves.