A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
Credit Rich Pedroncelli / AP
Robert Ward found a piece of the meteorite at a park in Lotus, Calif., on April 25. The 100,000-pound meteorite was blown apart into small pieces as it met the Earth's atmosphere.
On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.
"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:12 pm
Had you been watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno one Monday night last March, you might have seen pianist Robert Glasper leading his Experiment band from the NBC studios in Burbank, Calif. Had you preferred the Late Show with David Letterman, you might have seen bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding front a horn-heavy ensemble at the Ed Sullivan Theater in midtown Manhattan.
Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?
Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:25 pm
Here was the choice facing Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Run next year against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity would have made the Republican exceedingly difficult to beat; or fix his gaze on the Senate seat now occupied by an 88-year-old fellow Democrat, Sen.
An international criminal court has found a former Rwandan government official guilty of genocide and other crimes, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for his role in the Hutu-led government's murder of ethnic Tutsis on an epic scale. The trial is the last stemming from events 18 years ago.
As Gregory Warner reports for NPR's Newscast unit:
According to Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, more people in the United States die every year from gun-related incidents than have been killed in all terrorist attacks worldwide since the 1960s.
Credit Violence Policy Center
Tom Diaz is a senior analyst for the Violence Policy Center and the author of Making A Killing: The Business of Guns in America.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:19 pm
What do you do to keep calm and content while waiting out delays? One bus stop in Milan, Italy provides sheets of bubble wrap for travelers to pop. NPR science correspondent and blogger Robert Krulwich shares several clever ways to fill time.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:10 pm
A report by the National Intelligence Council projects that in 2030 the U.S. influence in global affairs will decrease, China will continue to rise as a global power, and a global middle class will grow significantly.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:22 pm
Within the past year, North Korea, China, Japan and South Korea have all elected new leadership. The shifting powers in Northeast Asia have major implications for a region the includes three of the world's major economies.