This week in science

Axiom Mission 1 splashdown and more: Understand the world through 8 images

Axiom/SpaceX

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

NASA is investigating the latest Artemis mission delay, as Axiom’s private ISS mission ends.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 8 incredible images.

Ignacio Roberto Hernandez

8. Keeping carbon underfoot

UFZ

April 21

Researchers discovered the condition and arrangement of pores in topsoil determine the dirt’s ability to capture carbon. They next hope to study subsoil, which is increasingly important to plant health as droughts rob topsoil of moisture.

UFZ

April 24

Scientists found Blastocystis ST4, a common intestinal parasite, acts like a probiotic, encouraging beneficial bacteria growth and reducing gut inflammation in hosts. The parasite could be used to develop future treatments for inflammation.

NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

6. Diagnosing Artemis’ delay

NASA

April 25

NASA began moving the Space Launch System rocket, with the Orion capsule attached, back to its Vehicle Assembly Building. Engineers are investigating what caused leaks and malfunctions during the Moon-bound craft’s wet dress rehearsal.

NASA

5. Fire-loving fungi

Dylan Enright/UCR

April 25

Researchers found fungi and bacteria that thrive after megafires are genetically related, sharing traits that help them survive fires. Studying these species could help scientists understand how forests recover after massive fire damage.

Dylan Enright/UCR

4. Stone Age besties

Marja Ahola

April 25

Scientists determined Stone Age slate ring ornaments thought to have been shattered accidentally were actually broken on purpose by their wearers. The researchers suggest the pieces of fragmented ornaments were worn by different people to show their social bond.

Marja Ahola

3. Mission complete

Axiom/SpaceX

April 25

Ax-1, the first private mission to the International Space Station from Axiom Space, came to a close as astronauts splashed down off the Florida coast. The mission’s end was delayed by five days due to poor weather.

NASA

2. Signs of life

NASA

April 26

Researchers discovered several nucleobases — one of the building blocks of DNA — in three separate meteorites. Prehistoric meteorites bringing the same molecules to Earth may have played a role in the emergence of life.

NASA

1. Reptiles need a rescue

Ignacio Roberto Hernandez

April 27

A global assessment of 10,000 species found that 21 percent of reptiles around the world may be threatened with extinction. Crocodiles, turtles, and forest-dwelling species generally were found to be in the most danger.

Ignacio Roberto Hernandez