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Mars is cold and dry, but billions of years ago, it was cold and wet. That's according to new evidence from NASA's Curiosity rover, which is currently exploring a large crater on Mars.

Dan Schultz / WNPR

Widening highways can be a controversial topic. Some say it just encourages congestion, but the governor said it’ll improve the state's bottom line.

Frenchtowner / Creative Commons

Pumpkins line farm stands and garden centers along with mums and corn stalks this time of year. Soon, that age-old tradition of pumpkin carving will happen, but did you know the first Jack-o’-Lantern was actually a turnip?

It’s October, and it’s supposed to be foliage season. But the splendor of the foliage in Northern New England isn’t what it used to be. Climate change, local pollution, invasive species, disease and development have all conspired to change the multicolored landscape to make it less so. NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with David Brooks, a reporter for The Concord Monitor and writer at GraniteGeek.org

Patrick Lynch/Yale University

Earth is home to thousands of different species of birds with an amazing array of behaviors, body types, and colors. For biologists studying evolution, that diversity has presented a fundamental question: How did so many different types of birds evolve? And how do they relate? 

General Electric says it has completed its sixth and final year of dredging sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper Hudson River.

Investigation Probes Amtrak Derailment In Vermont

Oct 7, 2015

Federal investigators are probing the derailment of a Washington, D.C.-bound Amtrak train in Vermont that left seven people hurt this week. The train carrying 98 passengers and four crew members derailed at about 10:30 Monday morning.

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As NASA contemplates more voyages exploring our inner solar system, it’s tapping the talents of some scientists here in Connecticut. One scientist hopes to send a probe to Venus.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

Their work details how cells repair damaged DNA and preserve genes. And now three scientists — Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar — have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Their work promises years of better treatment and better drugs.

The three researchers carried out their work separately, unearthing different mechanisms cells use to fix problems in a range of cells.

Humans have been harnessing energy from rivers for thousands of years. Think water wheels from Ancient Greece and modern hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam. Brown University engineers have a new take on a hydropower device that could harness enough energy to power communities in remote locations or along fast-flowing rivers.

Two scientists from Canada and Japan have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 for opening "a new realm in particle physics," the Nobel Prize committee says. Working far apart, both Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald showed how neutrinos shift identities like chameleons in space.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Extinguishing hope that the cargo ship that went missing near the Bahamas could have survived a Thursday encounter with Hurricane Joaquin, the Coast Guard announced Monday that the ship, El Faro, sank, according to the Associated Press. The Coast Guard also found an unidentified body of one crew member.

Passenger Train Derails In Vermont

Oct 5, 2015

UPDATED AT 3:27 p.m.

An Amtrak train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., derailed in central Vermont on Monday after apparently striking rocks that were on the tracks. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

An Amtrak passenger train carrying 102 people derailed Monday morning in Northfield after pieces of rock ledge fell onto the tracks. Seven people were injured in the accident, including one who was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, but emergency officials say it could have been much worse.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Creative Commons

Coventry has become the second town in Connecticut to pass an ordinance banning fracking waste from natural gas or oil drilling and extraction. The town of Washington passed a ban earlier this year.

Updated at 1:10 a.m. ET Monday:

A powerful rainstorm continues to soak South Carolina. At least five deaths have been reported across the state. Several sections of interstate highways have been closed including a 70-mile portion of I-95. In the state's capital Columbia, rescue operations will continue through at least Monday. Many schools and universities have canceled Monday classes and some businesses will also be closed. Forecasters predict it could be Tuesday before the rain stops.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET

Hurricane Joaquin is moving rapidly away from the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 155 mph. Although forecasters say it will stay well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, Bermuda could be in the storm's crosshairs.

Even without a direct hit on the Eastern Seaboard, severe flooding, partly from hurricane-generated rain, was is a big concern in the Carolinas. The White House has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, which is getting historic levels of rainfall.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

A powerful Hurricane Joaquin was pummeling the Bahamas as it stayed put over the islands with sustained winds of 130 mph.

The storm is expected to begin a gradual march north, but most forecast models now place it firmly on a trajectory that stays well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, alleviating some concern over its potential impact.

Updated, 1:20 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center's projections for Hurricane Joaquin in the past two days have incrementally moved the storm east. Now the government agency is saying the storm is likely to miss the United States altogether.

Some coastal flooding is still likely from the storm's surge, the hurricane center says, and unrelated rains could cause flooding in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Each weekday morning at the bank of the Connecticut River, a short line of cars begins to form. A part of Route 148 is closed off — the river runs through it. But at 7:00 am, a gate swings open, and the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry reconnects the route. 


Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development is inviting municipalities and economic development agencies to apply for $7.5 million in state grants to clean up former industrial sites.

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Joaquin, the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic Season, is forecast to churn off the coast of Florida for the next couple of days before potentially heading north and posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

With maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, Joaquin became a hurricane today. The storm's long-term path is still uncertain, but forecasters predict the tropical cyclone could pose a threat to the Mid-Atlantic or New England states.

Do You Know Where Your Cheese Comes From?

Sep 30, 2015

Americans love cheese. According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year. But how often do we think about who makes our cheese, or about its journey from France or Vermont to our crackers?

Well, some local cheese mongers are waging a campaign to raise awareness about cheese origins, cheese integrity and cheese abuse.

A Subterranean Education

kyselak / Creative Commons

Environmentalists and elected officials appear united in their desire to keep commercial development off New York's Plum Island.

mckaysavage / Creative Commons

Agricultural developments in the mid-20th century catapulted the farming industry to new levels of production. But that "green revolution" also fostered a population boom that's once again forcing farmers to innovate. 

After five weeks, Banksy's "bemusement park" art exhibit, Dismaland, is closing permanently. What's more, the anonymous artist announced on Dismaland's website that the structures and material from the park will be sent to a refugee camp in France.

The short announcement read, "All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the 'jungle' refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available."

The U.N. knows what it needs to do. But can it do it all?

Scientists have caught Mars crying salty tears.

Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. The streaks appear in sunny spots or when the weather is warm, and they fade when the temperature drops.

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.