NPR Staff

This month, NASA revealed new details of the plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an elaborate and expensive mission, involving a giant deep-space rocket, and roping an asteroid into the moon's orbit to use as a stepping stone to Mars.

But there are still some serious questions about a manned expedition to Mars. Namely, is it safe? That's where astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly come in. The Kelly brothers are identical twins, and the only siblings ever to both fly in space.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Iraq is suffering the worst spate of violence in many years — some say the worst since the height of the U.S. war in 2008. On Friday, dozens of people were killed at an election rally in Baghdad. This Wednesday, Iraqis will go to the polls in the first parliamentary election since the U.S. pulled combat troops out in 2011.

In five wars over 10 years, Ron Capps shifted back and forth between being a U.S. Army officer and a State Department foreign service officer in some of the world's deadliest places.

In Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, he served as a senior military intelligence officer. In wartime Kosovo, Darfur and Rwanda, he worked as a diplomat out in the field, documenting violence and war. As he writes in his new memoir, all the while he was almost daily "in the midst of murder, rape, the burning of villages, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleaning or genocide."

Just about anyone who's gone online has encountered the message: "Error 404" or page "Not Found." It's what you see when a link is broken or dead — when the resource is no longer available.

It happens all across the Internet, on blogs, news websites, even links cited in decisions by the Supreme Court. It's called link rot, and it spreads over time as more pages die.

Just a few words can hold a world of meaning. John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice, has written a short new book in which he proposes a few words here and there that would create some sweeping changes.

The book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, details the half-dozen ways Stevens thinks the Constitution could be improved, changes that he says are worth the trouble of the arduous amendment process.

Aribert Heim was a Nazi doctor at the Mauthausen concentration camp. He gained notoriety there for operating on healthy patients, often killing them painfully in the process. Heim, however, evaded prosecution after World War II, spending the last 30 years of his life on the run and ultimately dying in Cairo in 1992. Nicholas Kulish, co-author of The Eternal Nazi, tells the story.

To look at the members of Neon Trees — their technicolor clothes, skinny ties, hair bleached and lacquered into gravity-defying shapes — you might fairly place them in the same musical lineage that spawned bands like Duran Duran and The Killers. (They've toured with both.) But the culture from which the musicians emerged is a story unto itself.

Ayodeji Ogunniyi was a pre-med student when his father was murdered by three young men. So Ogunniyi decided that becoming a teacher, not a doctor, would help ensure his father's death was not in vain. (This StoryCorps interview initially aired Oct. 30, 2011 on Weekend Edition Sunday.)

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist.

Less than 20 years ago, Ellen DeGeneres hadn't come out, gay-wedding announcements didn't appear regularly in major newspapers and 17 states and the District of Columbia hadn't legalized same-sex unions.

But there was Steven Petrow. In 1995 he published The Essential Book of Gay Manners and Etiquette. He's been answering questions ever since — from LGBT and straight people alike — about new and sometimes perplexing social situations.

This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.

Five hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.

At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.

President Obama kicked off the first leg of his tour of Asia on Wednesday with some sushi diplomacy.

He dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats at the counter, was made famous by the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

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From his home base in Shanghai, Frank Langfitt keeps track of a wide swath of North and East Asia. He's recently back from Myanmar, where he went for (mostly) fun.

John Eric Goff, the chair of the physics department at Lynchburg College, explains the science of the 2014 World Cup soccer ball. The Adidas Brazuca is expected to perform better than the version used in South Africa in 2010.

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Ten years ago Tuesday, former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Steven Elliott was one of the Army Rangers who fired on Tillman, and he told his story recently on ESPN's Outside the Lines.

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Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations.

Michael's multimillion-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work.

"It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath.

Jordi Savall has made a career of reviving ancient music. Whatever the age of the songs, though, he doesn't play them as museum-piece recreations, preserved in isolation. Savall takes great pleasure in smashing together music from different times and different cultures.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a volunteer for the 2013 Boston Marathon, nurse Amelia Nelson thought should would be there to help runners as they came across the finish line.

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there is a place that looks just like Afghanistan.

There are villages with houses, shops, a mosque and a marketplace. But it is all a facade. The area is actually a U.S. Army installation, the Fort Irwin National Training Center. If you want to see how a decade of fighting has profoundly changed the way the U.S. prepares its soldiers for war, this is where you come.

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Cristina Peña was born in 1984 with HIV. Her father died from AIDS, and her mother is still living with HIV. Cristina was told she had HIV when she was 9, but she and her family kept it a secret from her schoolmates and friends.

In high school, she started dating Chris Ondaatje. One day, Chris decided to tell Cristina that he was in love with her.

That's when Cristina sat him down for a revelation of her own.

The investigative journalism group ProPublica, with reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, has just completed a yearlong project, Segregation Now, exploring the re-segregation of schools in the U.S., with a particular look at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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