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The private company SpaceX has announced that it plans to send two passengers on a mission beyond the moon in late 2018.

If the mission goes forward, it would be the "first time humans have traveled beyond low Earth orbit since the days of Apollo," as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce told our Newscast unit.

The two private citizens approached the company about the idea and have already paid a sizable deposit, CEO Elon Musk told reporters in a conference call. These private individuals will also bear the cost of the mission.

When it comes to climate change, we often think of the cars we drive and the energy we use in our homes and offices. They are, after all, some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But what about the toast you ate for breakfast this morning?

A new study published Monday in Nature Plants breaks down the environmental cost of producing a loaf of bread, from wheat field to bakery. It finds that the bulk of the associated greenhouse gas emissions come from just one of the many steps that go into making that loaf: farming.

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Wildfires can start when lightning strikes or when someone fails to put out a campfire. New research shows that people start a lot more fires than lightning does — so much so that people are drastically altering wildfire in America.

Fire ecologist Melissa Forder says about 60 percent of fires in national parks are caused by humans: "intentionally set fires, buildings burning and spreading into the forest, smoking, equipment malfunctions and campfires."

Parents of teens know how tricky it is to keep their kids physically safe while balancing their need for greater independence, but when it comes to keeping them safe online, it can be even trickier.

National Geographic contributing photographer Joel Sartore is 11 years into a 25-year endeavor to document every captive animal species in the world using studio lighting and black-and-white backgrounds. So far, he's photographed 6,500 different species, which leaves approximately 6,000 to go.

Your Name Might Shape Your Face, Researchers Say

19 hours ago

In my head, a person with the name Danny has a boyish face and a perpetual smile. Zoes have wide eyes and wild hair and an air of mild bemusement.

If you drink more alcohol than you want to or should, you're not alone. A nationwide survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 28 percent of adults in the U.S. are heavy drinkers or drink more than is recommended.

Yet, most heavy drinkers don't get the help they need.

There was a time when a whistleblower had to rely on the Postal Service, or a pay phone, or an underground parking garage to leak to the press.

This is a different time.

A renewed interest in leaks since Donald Trump's surprise election victory last fall, and a growth in the use of end-to-end encryption technology, have led news organizations across the country to highlight the multiple high-tech ways you can now send them anonymous tips.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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In an era of ever-advancing phone technology, can nostalgia give a boost to a not-so-smartphone?

The Nokia 3310 — a beloved phone model that's been out of date for a decade — has been relaunched as a new, colorful, pared-down phone for sale by HMD Global.

In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan changed the source of its water from the city of Detroit to the Flint River. But in the transition to river water, officials didn’t implement proper anti-corrosion measures. Lead leached from old pipes into the water supply, and in some homes, lead levels measured 10 times higher than the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Last month, lead levels in Flint's city water finally tested below federal-action level. But residents are still being cautioned to use filters on their faucets, or to drink bottled water.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Why It's Been So Warm On The East Coast

Feb 26, 2017

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This is something that listeners on the East Coast know firsthand. This past week felt less like February and more like the Fourth of July. Temperatures were in the mid-70s here in Washington, D.C.

GRACE SUR: Kind of feels like California.

In 2010, Lester Packingham was convicted of having a Facebook account. That's a crime in North Carolina, which bars registered sex offenders from "accessing" certain social media sites, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether that law violates the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Packingham contends the statute, instead of being narrowly targeted, encompasses a "vast amount" of speech that is protected by the Constitution.

Firsts can be life changing — think about your first kiss, your first time behind the wheel of a car. But what about the first time you got a prescription for a narcotic?

James Hatzell, from Collingswood, NJ, is now a technology officer for a college addiction treatment program. He didn't realize it at the time, but that spring day of his junior year of high school — seven years ago — was a pivotal moment in his life.

Harvard researchers say they’ve created metallic hydrogen

Feb 25, 2017

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe — and we know it mainly as a gas, not a metal. But in 1935, the physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington theorized that under high enough pressures, hydrogen could actually become metallic.

Since then, scientists have tried all sorts of techniques to create metallic hydrogen. Now, reporting in the journal Science, researchers at Harvard University say they’ve squeezed hydrogen between two diamonds — and made metal happen.

Explaining The Sizzling Sound Of Meteors

Feb 25, 2017

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(SOUNDBITE OF BACON SIZZLING)

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It was a balmy Sunday evening in early 1999, and Dr. Kaw Bing Chua hadn't had lunch or dinner.

There wasn't time to eat. Chua was chasing a killer. And he thought maybe he had finally tracked it down.

He slid the slide under the microscope lens, turned on the scope's light and looked inside. "A chill went down my spine," Chua says. "The slide lit up bright green, like bright green lanterns."

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