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An experimental lander from the European Space Agency is making its final descent toward Mars, preparing for a controlled landing on Wednesday.

The Schiaparelli probe detached from its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, on Sunday.

There was a moment of alarm when, after separating from the ship, Schiaparelli didn't send the expected signals back to scientists on earth. It did send back a "carrier signal" to show it was operational, but didn't communicate any telemetry data about its status or location.

Pez Owen was flying over the desert in her single-engine Cessna airplane when she spotted a huge "X" etched in the desert below. She says it was the strangest thing.

"It's not on the [flight] chart," Owen says. "There just wasn't any indication of this huge cross."

Then she spotted another one.

"There had to be some reason," she says. "So, of course, I immediately thought I had to get Chuck in on this."

JONATHAN MCNICOL / WNPR

In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never taken The Colin McEnroe Show to the Peabody Museum before. (Crazy, right?) And: In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never done a Colin McEnroe Show about dinosaurs before. (Crazy! Right!?)

Specially trained dogs have been known to sniff out explosives, drugs, missing persons and certain cancer cells, but author Alexandra Horowitz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that extraordinary olfactory abilities aren't just the domain of working dogs.

This is the way the Rosetta ends: not with a bang, but with a slow-motion crash.

The historic spacecraft has transformed scientists' understanding of comets over the past two years, as it orbited the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and sent a stream of images and data back to Earth.

Now scientists have steered it into the comet for a "Grand Finale" of data-collection, and Rosetta has lost contact with Earth forever.

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Sep 28, 2016
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Fall foliage season is right around the corner. But will the summer's lack of rain impact the colors we see on trees? 

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This year marks an important milestone in our nation's history -- 35 years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS. This hour, we look back to see how far we've come in understanding, treating, and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS in America. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Walk a few hundred yards into the woods in Durham, Connecticut, and you'll see something that looks like it's out of "Mad Max" -- large trucks, with big wheels, and giant robotic arms, grabbing trees and slicing them down. 

Ken & Nyetta / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

Liz West / Flickr Creative Commons

Colin has a "pet" raccoon that visits his porch. The raccoon will press her tiny paw up against the outstretched palm of Colin's significant other, which rests on the indoor side of the glass. Eventually, the raccoon gets a bit of food because "she" is too cute to resist. The pleased raccoon now visits on a regular basis. Colin fears this cannot end well.

From anthrax outbreaks in thawing permafrost to rice farms flooded with salty water, climate change seems to play a bigger and bigger role in global health each year.

Shever & Kimmrs / Creative Commons

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Rhode Island and Connecticut both had their warmest summers on record this year. As climate change continues to progress, a panel of scientists is arguing there's an urgent need to improve the way we forecast the impact of climate change. 

JD Hancock / flickr creative commons

At 8:30 pm on Thursday, September 8, 1966, NBC aired the premiere of a new series called "Star Trek". The episode was "The Man Trap." The star date was 1513.1, in case you're interested in that kind of thing.

I am not interested in that kind of thing.

They aren't saying it's alien, but they are saying it's "interesting."

The SETI Institute — the private organization that looks for signals of extraterrestrial life — has announced that it is investigating reports of an unusual radio signal picked up by Russian astronomers.

The signal was detected on a much wider bandwidth than the SETI Institute uses in its searches, and the strength of the received signal was "weak," SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak wrote in a blog post.

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