Geoff Brumfiel

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A new global treaty banning nuclear weapons goes into effect tomorrow. It aims to make nuclear war obsolete. But as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, some question whether it'll work.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the Pentagon's leadership to limit President Trump's ability to use nuclear weapons during his final days in office.

In a letter to her Democratic House colleagues on Friday, Pelosi said that she had spoken with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, about "available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."

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China is celebrating a trip to the moon. A small, robotic probe has been gathering samples from its surface. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports on what that probe has been collecting.

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And now we turn to the newest campaign in space. Early Tuesday morning in Beijing, China launched a rocket to the moon. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has more on the mission.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: The probe is known as Chang'e 5.

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

Four astronauts lifted off Sunday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket bound for the International Space Station.

Liftoff occurred right on schedule at 7:27 p.m., despite concerns about weather earlier in the day. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi reached orbit after a 12-minute ride to space.

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NASA announced today the discovery of water molecules inside a sunlit crater on the surface of the moon. The finding could have implications for future astronauts, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports.

Updated Oct. 26 at 6:11 p.m. ET

Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness.

Perhaps fittingly for the year 2020, the Nobel Prize in physics has recognized research on black holes.

The prize was awarded to Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, for demonstrating that the general theory of relativity leads to the formation of black holes; and to Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and Andrea Ghez of the University of California, Los Angeles, for the discovery of a compact object at the center of the Milky Way galaxy that governs the orbits of stars, for which a black hole is the only known explanation.

A commercial satellite photo may reveal a new Chinese space plane just moments after it landed at a remote site on the western side of China.

The photo, which is too low resolution to be conclusive, was snapped by the San Francisco-based company Planet. It shows what could be the classified Chinese spacecraft on a long runway, along with several support vehicles lined up nearby.

Dr. Scott Atlas has literally written the book on magnetic resonance imaging. He has also co-authored numerous scientific studies on the economics of medical imaging technology.

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Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. It was the second time nuclear weapons were used in war and also the last. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has the story of the bombing and why decisions made afterwards are still a problem today.

New satellite photos show the aftermath of Tuesday's massive, deadly explosion at the port of Beirut.

As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly throughout the U.S. and beyond, many are wondering: How on earth will this end? In an interview televised this week, President Trump reiterated his belief that sooner or later the virus will burn itself out. "I will be right eventually," the president told Fox News host Chris Wallace. "It's going to disappear, and I'll be right."

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