Joe Palca Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR.
Joe Palca, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.
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Joe Palca

A building called Sustainability Base, at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., has an energy-efficient design that allows in sunlight. So for most of the year, the interior is illuminated by natural light. Dominic Hart/NASA hide caption

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Dominic Hart/NASA

NASA Uses Lessons From Space To Design An Efficient Building

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An illustration shows what a helicopter drone would look like on the surface of Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

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Researchers at Brown University's computer science department are studying whether a robot called Baxter can be taught to pick up different objects. Joe Palca/NPR hide caption

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Joe Palca/NPR

How Can Robots Learn New Tasks? Practice, Practice, Practice

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Kroto displays a model of his discovery in 1996: a soccer ball-shape carbon molecule that spawned a new field of study and could act as a tiny cage to transport other chemicals. Michael Scates/AP hide caption

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Michael Scates/AP

A Discoverer Of The Buckyball Offers Tips On Winning A Nobel Prize

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Nobel Prize In Chemistry Awarded To 3 Scientists For DNA Repair Discovery

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Mike Lester, CEO of Taxi 2000, sits in the SkyWeb Express in the company's warehouse in Fridley, Minn. The company has been working on SkyWeb Express system, a point-to-point personal rapid transit system. Ackerman + Gruber for NPR hide caption

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Ackerman + Gruber for NPR

Why Nonstop Travel In Personal Pods Has Yet To Take Off

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A thermoelectric PowerCard like this one can be used to convert waste heat into an electric power source, Alphabet Energy says. Alphabet Energy hide caption

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Alphabet Energy

A Lot Of Heat Is Wasted, So Why Not Convert It Into Power?

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Scientists Develop App To Turn Smartphones Into Cosmic Ray Detectors

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Can people tell a computer-generated story from a human-authored one? How about a poem, or a playlist? Three new contests hope to find out. ImageZoo/Corbis hide caption

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ImageZoo/Corbis

Shall I Compare Thee To An Algorithm? Turing Test Gets A Creative Twist

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The sea snail Conus magus looks harmless enough, but it packs a venomous punch that lets it paralyze and eat fish. A peptide modeled on the venom is a powerful painkiller, though sneaking it past the blood-brain barrier has proved hard. Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson hide caption

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Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson

Snail Venom Yields Potent Painkiller, But Delivering The Drug Is Tricky

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