Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Scientists hope NASA's MAVEN probe, which went into orbit Sunday night, will provide insight into why the Martian climate changed drastically billions of years ago.


A $1 Microscope Folds From Paper With A Drop Of Glue

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Engineers at Stanford University have designed a microscope that fits in your pocket and costs less than a dollar to make. Here's the best part: You put the microscope together yourself.


Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You think bringing a new toothbrush to market is easy? The seven-year saga of two dental entrepreneurs struggling to bring their patented brush to consumers suggests otherwise.


At The Nano Level, Wrinkles Aren't Always A No-No

Monday, August 18, 2014

What happens when you add folds to materials that are only a few atoms thick? Several scientists set out to find the answer โ€” and discovered that these nano-wrinkles can be quite useful.

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Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All

Monday, August 11, 2014

If you think that an artificial eye looks like a big glass marble, you're not alone. And you're wrong. We visit the people who made a prosthetic eye for a 5-year-old boy who lost an eye to cancer.


Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Start with paper; add Shrinky Dinks, a microprocessor, heat, and voila! It's not quite that easy. But this engineering project might one day lead to a printable, flat spacecraft that folds itself.


Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Two large radio telescopes have detected very brief, powerful bursts of radio waves, and so far, scientists have no idea what's causing them.


Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Rosetta spacecraft hibernated for 31 months while its orbit took it too far away from the sun for its solar arrays to keep it operational. It's ready for a rendezvous with a comet Aug. 6.


To Make A Spacecraft That Folds And Unfolds, Try Origami

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The traditional Japanese art of folding paper is now adding grace and ease to the deployment of fragile solar panels, seismometers and other vital instruments in outer space.


Why Theories On Black Holes Are Full Of Holes

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Research indicates that black holes are more common than astronomers previously thought. (This piece initially aired on August 7, 2013, on All Things Considered).


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 โ€” 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.