This week in science

Major Artemis delay and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA

Alexander Lees

NASA’s Artemis megarocket suffered another huge delay the week of May 4–10, as scientists revealed a new target for cancer treatments and startling news about global bird populations.

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

NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI)

8. The cause of cancer

University of Warwick

May 4

Researchers discovered that chromosomes can be trapped in a cell’s membrane when it divides, which can lead to cancer in the resulting cells. The finding could lead to new cancer prevention methods.

University of Warwick

May 5

Researchers determined good macrophage diversity is one reason why some people are more resistant to Covid-19. An overabundance of pro-inflammatory macrophages could lead to a more dangerous response to the infection. The finding could help develop more effective drug treatments.

Douam and Kenney/Harvard Medical School Electron Microscopy Facility

May 5

Astronomers found a binary companion star in the aftermath of its partner star’s supernova. It’s the first observation of its kind involving a supernova that was stripped of its gas envelope before exploding. The finding supports the theory that a star can siphon hydrogen from its companion before a supernova.

Ori Fox (STScI) IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

5. A deadly decline

Alexander Lees

May 5

Scientists reported an estimated 48 percent of bird species worldwide are declining in population. They warn of a wave of extinctions if conservation efforts aren’t directed at preserving avian habitats.

Alexander Lees

4. Caught in the act

Sarah R. Losso

May 6

Scientists revealed a fossil revealing Olenoides serratus trilobites may have used clasper limbs to assist in mating, much like modern horseshoe crabs. Fossils rarely expose mating behavior, and the finding was only possible because the trilobite was missing part of its exoskeleton, revealing the claspers beneath.

Sarah R. Losso

3. Summer break

May 6

After the latest SLS wet dress rehearsal was delayed to June, NASA announced in a teleconference that the Artemis I mission likely won’t fly until August at the earliest. Previous plans aimed for a launch of the Moon-bound megarocket as early as April.

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

May 11

In a proof-of-concept study, scientists created neurons from stem cells that can function in the brain just like other neurons. It could pave the way to treat neuron damage caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Shireen Dooling/Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

1. Ancient algae

Sara Schreder-Gomes

May 11

Researchers found algae and prokaryote cells embedded in an 830-million-year-old sample of halite. The study used non-destructive methods of examining the cells, and may offer another way to search for evidence of ancient extraterrestrial life.

Sara Schreder-Gomes