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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new work premieres in Hartford this weekend that has a fresh and inspiring take on traditional opera. The performance even takes on a science fiction feel. 

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

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Dr. Mel Pohl, a medical specialist who works with chronic pain sufferers, says pain is REAL. That's his key point, and that there are ways to reclaim your life by avoiding addiction to opioids that often INCREASE pain without patients being aware of it. 

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? 

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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.

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.

Wesleyan University / Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

One of the three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Medicine refined his award-winning discovery while studying at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Satoshi Omura won the prize for his work unearthing a compound later developed into the drug Ivermectin. creative commons

Repair and boost the bacteria in the gut with the right food, prebiotics and probiotics, and you'll feel better and lose weight. That's the theory of Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, author of The Microbiome Diet.

The medicines they helped develop are credited with improving the lives of millions. And now three researchers working in the U.S., Japan and China have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Among the winners: William C. Campbell of Drew University in Madison, N.J., for his work on the roundworm parasite.

University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences / flickr creative commons

Yale professor Paul Anastas says it isn't enough to know that environmental chemicals are making us fat and sick. Anastas directs a department that is working on redesigning chemicals in our food and many products we rely on so that they do not threaten our health.

Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, puppetry artist Basil Twist and neuroscientist Beth Stevens work in wholly unrelated fields, but they do have at least one thing in common.

Along with 21 others, they are winners of the 2015 "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Benefits of Being Afraid

Sep 28, 2015
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Think about what it's like to ride that super-fast, double-looped, mountain-high roller coaster. Hyper-focused, you study the rickety bones of the structure while waiting your turn. You hear the clattering of the cars as they climb to the highest peak, and then watch as they plunge toward the ground with their loads of screaming passengers. Eventually the cars glide back to the starting position and it’s your turn. 

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.

Maybe you've become inured to all the superlatives that get attached to sky-watching events. But the one on Sunday really is worth a look — it's the first total eclipse that's also a supermoon and a blood moon in more than three decades.

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.

Matt Crowely / Flickr

Between all we know to be true, and all we know to be false, lies a world of woo. Woo-Woo, to use the official term, refers to ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence, or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers.

But who decides what's woo-woo, and what gets accepted into the hallowed halls of scientific truth?

A Balanced Life for Happy, Self-Motivated Kids

Sep 21, 2015
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There’s no doubt, being a parent is challenging. Some of those challenges have always existed, some are new to the 21st century. We worry about the health of our children. And if we’re lucky enough to have healthy children, we worry about their successes in life. Today, the pressure on parents and children to succeed has escalated dramatically. 

Andrew Filer/flickr creative commons

Katha Pollitt, is best known for her column in The Nation, where her work has appeared since 1980. She's a feminist, a keen observer of American culture, and the author of two books of poetry and four essay collections. One of those essays, “Learning to Drive,” appeared in The New Yorker 13 years ago, and has recently been adapted into a film starring Patricia Clarkson and Sir Ben Kingsley. 

Chion Wolf

This hour, we get updates from a few of our favorite former guests. UConn physicist Ron Mallett is looking to fund a feasibility study to pay for the first steps of his time machine. We’ll catch up with him.

And New Haven-based filmmaker Gorman Bechard is working on two documentaries – one about animal cruelty, and the other on the New Haven pizza wars.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human-like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery — and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species.

The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place — an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star.

Carl Safina

What, exactly, do animals think and feel? That's the question at the heart of a new book by Carl Safina, an ecologist who traveled to Kenya, the Pacific Northwest, and Yellowstone to research his latest work, Beyond Words.

Snowshoe Photography - Alaska / Creative Commons

When you're a scientist trying to count every tree on the planet, you need to prepare yourself for some good-natured ribbing. 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons

In her latest book, author and scholar Marcia Bartusiak shows how the black hole helped bring Einstein's general theory of relativity back into the spotlight.

gailhampshire/flickr creative commons

Kids head out the door to catch the school bus as the crispness of the early morning air begins to linger and that familiar wistful feeling sets in. The replacement of sticky, sun-drenched days and warm, song-filled nights marks the unofficial start of fall. It’s not just that the days are getting shorter and the colors are changing, or that the temperature is cooler and the air drier. With autumn comes the conclusion of the songs of summer — the chorus of night-singing insects. 

Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and best-selling author of books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died of cancer today in New York City at the age of 82, a longtime friend and colleague has confirmed.

The London-born academic's 1973 memoir Awakenings, about his efforts to use the drug L-Dopa to bring patients who survived the 1917-1928 encephalitis epidemic out of their persistent catatonic state, was turned into a 1990 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He was the author of a dozen other books.

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack. He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.” 

A Balanced Life for Happy, Self-Motivated Kids

Aug 27, 2015
Donnie Ray Jones/flickr creative commons

There’s no doubt, being a parent is challenging. Some of those challenges have always existed, some are new to the 21st century. We worry about the health of our children. And if we’re lucky enough to have healthy children, we worry about their successes in life. Today, the pressure on parents and children to succeed has escalated dramatically. 

The Jackson Laboratory

The Jackson Laboratory is partnering with UConn to found a new center that will focus on what’s called single cell genomics.