This week in science

2021 Perseids meteor shower and more: Understand the world in 9 images


The IPCC issued a climate change wake-up call the week of August 5–11, while Perseverance suffered a setback on Mars, and scientists made a breakthrough in genetic preservation.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told through 9 stunning images.

August 5

Researchers developed a way to attach freeze-dried sperm to paper, allowing it to be transported easily and safely — even through the mail. Healthy mouse offspring have been produced from the freeze-dried sperm’s DNA.

Daiyu Ito, University of Yamanashi

8. If at first you don’t succeed

August 6

NASA’s Perseverance rover came up empty-handed after its first sampling attempt on Mars. NASA is investigating why Perseverance couldn’t retrieve a sample from its first drill hole.


7. Understanding stress

University of Bristol
August 6

Researchers discovered how stress hormones impact neuroplasticity and cilia function in the brain. The findings could help researchers better understand chronic stress and its role in mental health.

University of Bristol
August 6

A review of Curiosity rover data suggested that Gale Crater may be filled with wind-blown sediment, rather than lake sediment, as was previously believed. The finding could mean the area was less likely to host life than scientists thought.

August 6

Researchers identified a new species of beetle with distinct body markings from a spectacularly well-preserved fossil. The beetle was named Attenborough’s Beauty, after naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

©Denver Museum of Nature & Science
August 8

Scientists developed a new type of micrometer-scale microgel that can help the body grow new blood vessels. The microgel could be used to speed healing in regenerative therapies.

© 2021 KAUST; Gustavo Ramirez Calderon

3. The time is now

August 9

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a bombshell report concluding that human activity is responsible for hotter temperatures and extreme weather events. Slowing the trend is possible but requires decisive action.


2. Fangs for everything

A. Palci
August 10

Researchers discovered that wrinkles in venomous snakes’ teeth — which help attach teeth to the jaw — developed into venom grooves, giving snakes their distinctive, deadly fangs.


"It's always been a mystery why fangs have evolved so many times in snakes, but rarely in other reptiles. Our study answers this, showing how easy it is for normal snake teeth to turn into hypodermic needles."

1. The best show of the year

August 11

The Perseids meteor shower peaks between midnight on August 11 and sunrise on August 13. The brightest meteor shower of the year will be visible with the naked eye in dark places.

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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