Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

NASA Engineers Try To Remedy Stuck Probe On Mars

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An instrument on NASA's Mars InSight mission that was supposed to be driven into the planet's soil is stuck. It's designed to measure Mars's internal temperature.


Getting Fire From A Tree Without Burning The Wood

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Cottonwood trees can harbor microorganisms that have a special (and flammable) characteristic.


Why Corned Beef Sandwiches — And The Rest Of The Universe — Exist

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Somehow, at the beginning of time, there was an imbalance of matter and antimatter. That's how all the stuff in the universe came about. Scientists think they may find an answer by studying neutrons.


NASA Wants To Send Your Name To Mars In 2020

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

NASA wants you to go to least, they want your name to go. As part of a publicity campaign, the public can fill out a form and have a name coded on a microchip to head up in 2020.


If Drones Had 'Claws,' They Might Be Able To Fly For Longer

Monday, May 06, 2019

Small drones have a problem — their battery life runs out relatively quickly. A team of roboticists says it has created special landing gear that can help conserve precious battery life.


NASA's InSight Probe May Have Recorded First Sounds Of Marsquake

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A NASA probe called InSight is on Mars listening for marsquakes and it seems it has detected the first sounds of a quake, probably.


A Math Teacher's Life Summed Up By The Gifted Students He Mentored

Sunday, April 07, 2019

A biologist at Harvard was chatting with a colleague about a mentor who pushed him to do harder math problems. It turns out the colleague had the same mentor — and so did many others.


Laysan Albatross: An Unexpected Attraction In Hawaii

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

For more than a decade, Cathy Granholm has been tracking the Laysan albatross. They come down to Hawaii every winter from Alaska to nest and raise their chicks.


Young Astronomer Uses Artificial Intelligence To Discover 2 Exoplanets

Monday, April 01, 2019

A team led by an undergraduate student at the University of Texas, Austin has found two new planets by using artificial intelligence to sift through data from NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope.


Scientists Thread A Nano-Needle To Modify The Genes Of Plants

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Getting DNA into plant cells is tricky. Researchers have tried using infectious bacteria, as well as gene guns that shoot gold bullets. Then a physicist came up with a new approach almost by accident.


NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Is Officially Declared Dead

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

NASA's six-wheeled rover landed on the red planet in January 2004 for what was billed as a 90-day mission. The plucky robot was still going until a dust storm on Mars last summer killed it.


Avoiding The Ouch: Scientists Are Working On Ways To Swap The Needle For A Pill

Thursday, February 07, 2019

A lot of vaccines and some medications need to be delivered by injection. Two groups of researchers are designing ways of delivering these medications by putting them in pill form.


Why Morning People May Have A Health Edge Over Night People

Thursday, February 07, 2019

A new study suggests that being a morning person makes you slightly less susceptible to depression or mental illness. It, however, is not a very big effect.


Exploring The Mysterious Origins Of Mars' 3-Mile-High Sand Pile

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Space scientists on Earth have improvised a tool on the Mars rover to help them figure out how a giant mountain on the Red Planet came to be. Their surprising conclusion: It's likely windswept sand.


VIDEO: Inventor Inspired By Childhood Memories Of Fungus

Thursday, January 24, 2019

As a child on a New York farm, Eben Bayer helped his dad shovel wood chips in the barn. That's where he noticed a stretchy web of fungus that became the basis of his biodegradable packing material.


With Key Government Agencies Shut Down, Science Sputters

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Government, academic and industry researchers often depend on each others' work and funding. The partial shutdown is getting in the way of some of that collaboration and research.


Astronomers' New Tool May Help Solve Intergalactic Mystery

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fast Radio Bursts are extremely powerful bursts of energy coming from far beyond the Milky Way. No one knows what's causing them but a new telescope in Canada should help find an explanation.


China's Lunar Lander To Explore Moon's Far Side

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Early in 2019, China hopes to land a rover — the first soft landing on the moon's far side. The mission is exploratory, and will lay groundwork for a trip by Chinese astronauts to the lunar surface.


What's Next For Tiny Satellites?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Two briefcase-sized satellites gave the control room of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in November what scientists had never been able to get before: real-time information about a spacecraft's landing.


The World Has A New Largest-Known Prime Number

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Mersenne prime was discovered by a computer in Ocala, Fla., on Dec. 7. Mathematicians have spent the past two weeks verifying the calculations.