NPR Staff

In the 1940s, an elite team of mathematicians and scientists started working on a project that would carry the U.S. into space, then on to the moon and Mars. They would eventually become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL), but here's what made them so unusual: Many of the people who charted the course to space exploration were women.

Nathalia Holt tells their story in her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Holt tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that the women worked as "computers."

As Radical Face, Ben Cooper has written song after song about a fictional family. They make up not just one album but a trilogy of them, called The Family Tree. All of the characters on the first two albums, The Roots and The Branches, were made up. But then, Cooper was forced to confront some very real family secrets of his own.

If you've been following any of the big news stories on food fraud lately, you'll know that it's tough to know what exactly is in our food — and where it's been before it makes it onto our dinner plates.

Ronnie Spector was part of the heart and soul of the 1960's, and she has never stopped. You might know her as the leader of The Ronettes, the girl group that gave us "Be My Baby" and "Baby, I Love You." She also helped turn rock 'n' roll into a worldwide force.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this year. In a performance of Ravel's Boléro, the orchestra presented a few members of a new generation of players eager to take the music into a new century. They were members of the BSO's OrchKids program, onstage at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to play right alongside regular orchestra musicians.

The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating—and occasionally brilliant—glimpse of the future of computing."

In our jobs, when we're told to redo something, it usually means we've made a mistake. That's not the case for Javier Camarena. Earlier this month at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the tenor had the chance to retake an aria during a performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale because the audience went bonkers after the first time he sang it.

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