This week in science

Webb Telescope first photos and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

NASA revealed the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope the week of July 6–13, as scientists peered into Mars’ past and surgeons performed a groundbreaking transplant.

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

Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health

8. More than skin deep

Justine Lee

July 6

Research showed for the first time patients who receive facial feminization surgery had better scores in seven psychosocial health categories than peers without the surgery. FFS is one of the primary gender-affirming treatments for transgender women and nonbinary people, but is often classed as a cosmetic procedure by providers.

Justine Lee

7. Triple vision

Sabrina Cappelli © Royal Ontario Museum

July 8

Fossils from the 500-million-year-old arthropod Stanleycaris illuminated the evolution of brains and vision in insects and spiders. Just a few centimeters long, the fossil’s brain and nervous system remain intact, revealing a giant third eye on the critter’s head.

Jean-Bernard Caron © Royal Ontario Museum

6. Furry farmers

Veronica Selden

July 11

Researchers found pocket gophers common in North and Central America fertilize plants growing into their tunnels with their own poop to use as a sustainable food source. They suggest it could be considered a form of agriculture, making the gophers the first known non-human mammals to farm for food.

Veronica Selden

5. Together forever

George Poinar Jr./Oregon State University

July 11

Researchers found the first fossilized flower of the Euphorbiaceae family preserved in amber, along with a parasitic wasp. The wasp itself was described by the same scientists in 2020.

George Poinar Jr./Oregon State University

4. Billions of years in the making

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

July 11

NASA released the first-ever images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The very first shot reveals galaxies it was impossible to see before, thanks to the telescope’s unprecedented clarity.

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

3. How tumors travel

Aleksi Isomursu

July 12

Researchers found that cancer cells tend to migrate through the body along tissues that are neither too hard (like bone) nor too soft (like fat). The finding challenges theories that cancer always prefers harder tissue and could guide future cancer treatments.

Aleksi Isomursu

2. Home is where the heart is

Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health

July 12

NYU Langone surgeons announced the successful transplantation of genetically engineered pig hearts without complications into recently two deceased patients on ventilators. Scientists hope the procedure will one day be viable for heart transplant patients.

Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health

1. Mapping Mars

Lagain et al. 2022, Nature Communications

July 12

Researchers using the Pawsey supercomputer pinpointed the location on Mars where the Black Beauty meteor (discovered in Western Sahara in 2011) originated. Knowing where the rock was ejected lets scientists understand Mars’ surface formation in more detail.

Lagain et al. 2022, Nature Communications