This Week in Science

Mars rover selfies and beyond: Understand the world in 9 images

Paul Nicklen / paulnicklen.com

Giant leaps for civilian spaceflight, a breakthrough in genetic hybrids, and a traffic jam big enough to see from space made headlines the week of March 25–31.

Here are the most important science stories of the week, told in 9 images.

NASA Earth Observatory

9. Finding nemo

Museums Victoria

March 25

Arachnologists named the new peacock spider Maratus nemo for its resemblance to the clownfish from Finding Nemo. Maratus nemo was discovered by a citizen scientist in Australia.

Museums Victoria

8. Stuck in traffic

NASA Earth Observatory

March 27

NASA’s Earth Observatory captured the cargo ship traffic jam created by the Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal for six days. More than 400 ships clogged the canal by the time the Ever Given was freed.

NASA Earth Observatory

March 29

Researchers from the University of Sydney revealed a map showing 64 percent of farmable land in the world is at risk of pesticide pollution, which can harm human health and the environment.

Associate Professor Federico Maggi, Dr Fiona Tang, University of Sydney

6. Marine mercury

Rune Dietz

March 29

A new analysis of narwhal tusks showed a significant increase in mercury since the 1960s. The change is likely due to the use of fossil fuel, according to McGill University researchers.

Rune Dietz

March 29

Human-pig chimeras (pig embryos injected with human cells) successfully grew human muscle tissue in a University of Minnesota experiment. The breakthrough could lead to transplantable human muscle tissue.

G. Maeng, et al. NATURE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (2021)

4. Meet Stretch

March 29

Boston Dynamics debuted its new box-moving robot, named Stretch. Stretch is expected to be commercially available for use in warehouses in 2022.

Boston Dynamics

3. Crew assembled

Inspiration4

March 30

SpaceX announced the final two members of its all-civilian Inspiration4 crew. Dr. Sian Proctor of Phoenix, Arizona, and Christopher Sembroski of Seattle, Washington will join the Crew Dragon mission set to launch later this year.

Inspiration4

2. Star tours

Virgin Galactic

March 30

Virgin Galactic revealed VSS Imagine, its shiny new spaceship intended for civilian space tourism. VSS Imagine is set to begin test flights as early as this summer.

Virgin Galactic

1. Vacation selfies from Mars

NASA

March 30

While most attention is focused on Perseverance, NASA’s Curiosity rover sent home a panoramic selfie composed of 60 different images in front of the Mont Mercou rock formation.

NASA

Read more stories on science here.

Virgin Galactic

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