This week in science

Mars Megaripples and more: Understand the world through 8 incredible images

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Konrad Mebert

Researchers made an unexpected discovery on the Martian surface the week of January 6–12, while new species living and extinct were found across Earth.

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

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

January 6

Astronomers captured a red supergiant’s collapse into a Type II supernova for the first time. The team observed a never-before-seen flash of light from the star that signaled its collapse, and observed it for the 130 days before the supernova.

W. M. Keck Observatory/Adam Makarenko

January 6

Scientists found increased myelin located in the brain’s memory and emotional centers is linked to PTSD in veterans and anxiety in rats. Treatments targeting myelin, which increases neural communication, may combat both PTSD and anxiety.

UCSF image by Linda Chao

6. Fossil treasure trove

Michael Frese

January 8

Scientists uncovered an unprecedented array of fossils from Australia’s Miocene era, which has a poor fossil record. The finding includes new species of spiders, insects, and fish.

Michael Frese

January 10

Researchers discovered the most-complete ichthyosaur skeleton ever found in the UK. Found in the Anglian Water reservoir, it’s thought to be the first Temnodontosaurus trigonodon uncovered in the country.

Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust

4. First line of defense

Annagiulia Ciocia/CRG

January 11

Researchers discovered how skin cells defend against skin cancer by dramatically slowing their function without dying. Understanding this process — driven by protein CDSE1 — could aid future cancer research.

Annagiulia Ciocia/CRG

3. A catchy name

Konrad Mebert

January 11

Researchers officially described Pristimantis gretathunbergae, a new species of frog found in eastern Panama. Naming rights were auctioned off for the Rainforest Trust, with the winner honoring climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Konrad Mebert

2. In the bubble

Leah Hustak (STScI)

January 12

Scientists explained the origin of the Local Bubble — a 500 light-year area surrounding Earth where stars are formed. They determined a series of supernovae starting 14 million years ago pushed interstellar gas away, clearing the bubble.

Leah Hustak (STScI)

January 12

Researchers found Mars’ Megaripples, sand ripples up to six feet tall, aren’t static as previously thought. In spring and summer months, the massive ripples are driven by smaller sand structures moving at a rate of 9.6 meters per year.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona