This week in science

James Webb Telescope launch and more: Understand the world through 7 images

NASA

NASA/Chris Gunn

After multiple delays, the James Webb Space Telescope launched the week of December 22–29, as scientists studied rogue planets and ancient giants.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 7 incredible images.

Ben McKinley, ICRAR/Curtin and Connor Matherne, Louisiana State University

December 22

Astronomers discovered 70 free-floating planets in the Milky Way — the largest group ever found. The finding nearby doubles the number of rogue planets known to scientists.

ESO/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

December 22

Astronomers captured a comprehensive view of emissions from a black hole in the Centaurus A galaxy, 12 million light years from Earth. The black hole’s radio emissions stretch 16 times the length of the full moon when viewed from Earth.

Ben McKinley, ICRAR/Curtin and Connor Matherne, Louisiana State University

December 23

Researchers uncovered a skull from the earliest known species of ichthyosaur. The finding shows that Mesozoic oceans were able to support much larger animals than previously thought.

Stephanie Abramowicz, courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)

December 23

Researchers created a transistor 25,000 times thinner than a human hair using a single-layer carbon nanotube. The process they used could aid in the development of transistors smaller than silicon allows.

National University of Science and Technology, Moscow

3. Launched at last

NASA/Bill Ingalls

December 25

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope finally launched, beginning its mission to study the universe’s first galaxies. NASA has confirmed it has enough fuel to last more than 10 years.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

2. Decoding DNA repair

CNIO, MGH

December 28

Using machine learning analysis, scientists identified nine new proteins the body uses to repair DNA. The finding and the technology behind it could help in gene discovery and cancer therapy.

December 28

Scientists examined the mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I for the first time using 3D CT scans. “Unwrapping” the mummy this way allows it to be examined without damage.

S. Saleem and Z. Hawass