If you watch the film The Martian, you'll see Hollywood explosions and special effects galore, but you'll also see some serious science.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays stranded astronaut Mark Watney, must calculate his way through food shortages, Martian road trips and other misadventures as he fights to find a way off the Red Planet.

Numbers are a matter of life and death for Damon's astronaut, and in this movie they're not pulled from thin air.

Plant breeders, Northwest chefs and farmers are co-developing innovative new vegetables and grains. The bounty was sampled a tasting party in Portland Monday night.

It's a typical morning at the Dupont Veterinary Clinic in Lafayette, La. Dr. Phillip Dupont is caring for cats and dogs in the examining room while his wife, Paula, answers the phone and pet owners' questions. Their two dogs are sleeping on the floor behind her desk.

"That's Ken and Henry," Paula says, pointing to the slim, midsize dogs with floppy ears and long snouts. Both dogs are tan, gray and white, with similar markings. "I put a red collar on Ken and a black collar on Henry so I can tell who's who."

NASA astronaut Michael Barratt with floating tomato in Zvezda service module of the International Space Station.
Wikipedia Photo/Public Domain

Ross Reynolds interviews Michael Barratt, a Camas, Washington born astronaut who flew on the last Space Shuttle mission, about how real space travel compares to the movie versions. He's already seen the new Matt Damon film "Martian" twice. Barratt also talks about how his upbringing on a farm was good preparation for going into space.

Scientists have caught Mars crying salty tears.

Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. The streaks appear in sunny spots or when the weather is warm, and they fade when the temperature drops.

For years, experts have said that if there’s an earthquake we should "Duck, Cover and Hold." That is, duck under something strong — like a desk — then stay under cover and hold on until the shaking stops.

But Corbett School District superintendent Randi Trani doesn’t think the mantra works for his middle school. Corbett Middle School was built in 1921 without benefit of steel rebar or such modern ideas as tying the walls to the roof.

David Hyde sits down with John Delaney, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, to discuss what scientists are learning from a recent underwater volcano that erupted off the coast of Washington and Canada.

Jeannie Yandel talks to Luke Timmerman of the Timmerman Report about Chris Rivera's tenure as President of the Washington Biotechnology And Biomedical Association. 

When it comes to sleep, fruit flies are a lot like people. They sleep at night, caffeine keeps them awake, and they even get insomnia.

Those similarities, along with scientists' detailed knowledge of the genes and brain structure of Drosophila melanogaster, have made the fruit fly extremely valuable to sleep researchers.

Are Our Devices Turning Us Into A New Kind Of Human?

Sep 11, 2015

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part I.

About Amber Case's TED Talk

Anthropologist Amber Case says our technology is changing us into cyborgs. She argues we have become a screen-staring, button-clicking new version of Homo sapiens.

About Amber Case

New images of the dwarf planet Ceres give fresh detail to its most intriguing features: a cluster of bright spots that NASA says "gleam with mystery" and are intensely different from anything else on Ceres' surface.

Taken from fewer than 1,000 miles away, the images may finally help NASA figure out what's behind the brightness.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human-like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery — and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species.

The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place — an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star.

Acoustic biologists who have learned to tune their ears to the sounds of life know there's a lot more to animal communication than just, "Hey, here I am!" or "I need a mate."

From insects to elephants to people, we animals all use sound to function and converse in social groups — especially when the environment is dark, or underwater or heavily forested.

Mount Baker glacier as seen from a helicopter in 2009.
Flickr Photo/judy_and_ed (CC BY NC 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton about her story on the alarming melting of Northwest glaciers due to hot weather and low snowpack. Scientists say glaciers across the North Cascades could shrink by as much as 10 percent this year.

Neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival. Sacks died this weekend. He was 82.
Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

Oliver Sacks didn’t just look at the brain. He looked at the whole person, he told KUOW in a 1987 interview. 

"One should never just look at diseases or disorders, but how it is for the whole person,” he said. “The person is always struggling to survive and to manage some way or another.”