Science The latest health and science news. Updates on medicine, healthy living, nutrition, drugs, diet, and advances in science and technology. Subscribe to the Health & Science podcast.

Science

Jupiter's moon Io, seen here in the infrared spectrum, courses with volcanic activity. Scientists are learning how the push and pull of gravity heats up this moon. NASA/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
NASA/Getty Images

From a green comet to cancer-sniffing ants, we break down the science headlines

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1153898333/1154004171" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Yeshnee Naidoo prepares a "flow cell" for analysis by one of the center's many genetic sequencing machines. Tommy Trenchard for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Who's most likely to save us from the next pandemic? The answer may surprise you

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1153625557/1153855614" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Each year, RSV infections send up to 80,000 kids under 5 to the hospital for emergency treatment. A new antibody treatment could protect the youngest kids — newborns and up infants up to 2 years old. Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance via Getty I hide caption

toggle caption
Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

Computers have been used in rocketry for half-a-century, so it's possible to think that the new AI programs could help. They struggled to grasp the basics. NPR staff generated imagery using Midjourney hide caption

toggle caption
NPR staff generated imagery using Midjourney

We asked the new AI to do some simple rocket science. It crashed and burned

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1152481564/1153728091" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A researcher releases a bat after taking samples and inserting a microchip into it in Faridpur, Bangladesh. Fatima Tuj Johora for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Fatima Tuj Johora for NPR

Nipah: Using sticks to find a fatal virus with pandemic potential

The Nipah virus is on the World Health Organization's short list of diseases that have pandemic potential and therefore pose the greatest public health risk. With a fatality rate at about 70%, it is one of the most deadly respiratory diseases health officials have ever seen. But as regular outbreaks began in the early 2000s in Bangladesh, researchers were left scratching their heads. Initially, the cause of the outbreaks was unknown to them. But once they identified the virus, a second, urgent question arose: How was the virus jumping from bats into humans?

Nipah: Using sticks to find a fatal virus with pandemic potential

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1153377125/1153644292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
IBRAHIM CHALHOUB/AFP via Getty Images

The ancient night sky and the earliest astronomers

Moiya McTier says the night sky has been fueling humans' stories about the universe for a very long time, and informing how they explain the natural world. In fact, Moiya sees astronomy and folklore as two sides of the same coin.

The ancient night sky and the earliest astronomers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1152821855/1152929307" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In this photo provided by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, its members search for a radioactive capsule believed to have fallen off a truck being transported on a freight route on the outskirts of Perth, Australia, on Saturday. AP hide caption

toggle caption
AP

A "mysterious" flying spiral spotted by the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, early on Jan. 18, could be related to a SpaceX satellite launch earlier in the day, scientists speculated. NAOJ & Asahi Shimbun via Storyful/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption
NAOJ & Asahi Shimbun via Storyful/Screenshot by NPR

A field researcher holds a male bat that was trapped in an overhead net as part of an effort to find out how the animals pass Nipah virus to humans. The animal will be tested for the virus, examined and ultimately released. Fatima Tuj Johora for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Fatima Tuj Johora for NPR

The Nipah virus has a kill rate of 70%. Bats carry it. But how does it jump to humans?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1148681236/1152751704" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dr. Yejin Choi University of Washington Professor and MacArthur Fellow, works to improve AI's understanding of common sense. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation hide caption

toggle caption
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Wegovy has been called "a major breakthrough" given how well it works to reduce body weight. But the injection drug is extremely expensive and when people can't afford to stay on it, they experience rebound weight gain that's hard to stop. Katherine Streeter for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Wegovy works. But here's what happens if you can't afford to keep taking the drug

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1152039799/1152448849" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Recently, Richard Trumka, the commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), suggested regulating gas stoves. A growing body of research points to health and climate risks associated with the use of gas stoves. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Jan. 23, 2020, as the coronavirus spread in China, residents of Wuhan, where it was first identified, donned masks to go shopping. The U.S. didn't officially endorse masks as a preventive measure for the public for a number of weeks. Stringer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Stringer/Getty Images

Prairie voles mate for life and are frequently used to study human behavior. Todd H. Ahern/Emory University hide caption

toggle caption
Todd H. Ahern/Emory University

Can you bond without the 'love hormone'? These cuddly rodents show it's possible

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1152009605/1152140625" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Seeds are seen as students at Eucalyptus Elementary School in in Hawthorne, Calif., learn to plant a vegetable garden on March 13, 2019. The U.S. supply of native seeds is currently too low to respond to climate change-related events, a new report finds. David McNew/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
David McNew/AFP via Getty Images