NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. The MSL is five times heavier than the rovers currently on Mars and has twice as many scientific instruments. It will take nine months for the spacecraft to reach the Red Planet, and there's plenty of things for it to do before then.
With more on this story and the rest of the week's news, we're joined now by Doyle McManus. He's the Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and he has graciously agreed to stand in for our regular news analyst, James Fallows. Doyle, thanks so much for being with us.
Pakistan says 25 of its soldiers were killed in a NATO helicopter attack on a checkpoint at the Afghan border. NATO says it is investigating what happened. Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Quil Lawrence about the incident, which has further exacerbated U.S.-Pakistan tensions.
Andrew Robinson was injured by a roadside bomb during his second deployment to Iraq. Now a quadriplegic, he says he is learning how to use his limited mobility and is proud of having protected his fellow soldiers. He is especially motivated because his wife is expecting twins next month.
Photographer Lindsay McCrum's new book includes images of women who feel that hunting is a way to bring people and family together. Among those women is Alexandra, who poses for McCrum with her son, Truett, and her Ithaca 20-gauge side-by-side shotgun.
If you turn to page 109 of Lindsay McCrum's photo book, you'll see a photo of a woman wearing jeans and a green baseball cap standing in a grassy field. She's looking straight at the camera, clutching a semi-automatic rifle as if it were a water bottle. Standing between her legs is her son, his blond hair peeking out from behind her thigh as he poses with his toy gun, a miniature of his mother's.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
The Arab League meets today in Cairo to consider imposing sanctions against Syria after Damascus rejected the League's demand that Syria allow an observer mission into the country. As protests there continue and the death toll mounts, neighboring Turkey says it's ready to join the Arab League in levying punitive measures against the government in Damascus. But as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, Turkey's deep reluctance to endorse a military option underscores the complex risks surrounding any foreign intervention in Syria.
Wayman Tisdale was that rare human being: a great athlete who had a great second act. But his life ended in tragedy. Wayman Tisdale was a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma, and a forward on the U.S. team that won Olympic gold, a great power forward for the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. But music had been his first love.
WAYMAN TISDALE: OK, ready?
SIMON: And he left the NBA to become a jazz musician, and also, once again, great.