This week in science

Artemis I lifts off and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA’s Moon-bound mega-rocket finally leaves the launchpad.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA’s long-delayed Artemis I mission took flight the week of November 9–16, as scientists observed some surprisingly human-like behaviors in wild animals for the first time.

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

8. Making marrow

Dr A Khan, University of Birmingham

November 9

Scientists created bone marrow organoids for the first time, which can be used to test cancer treatments. Cells from patients with blood cancer, which are difficult to maintain in a lab, have also been shown to survive within the marrow organoids.

Dr A Khan, University of Birmingham

7. First pitch

Godfrey-Smith et al., 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0

November 9

Researchers observed octopuses seemingly deliberately throwing debris from the ocean floor at each other. It’s the first time octopuses have been seen throwing objects at other individuals, a behavior that’s rare outside of humans.

Godfrey-Smith et al., 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0

6. Mystery solved

Ludwig Luthardt, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

November 10

Researchers solved the “hundred-year-old riddle” of how plant vascular systems become increasingly complex in larger plants. Their research shows these complex arrangements help prevent embolisms — air pockets that form during droughts and block vascular conduits.

Ludwig Luthardt, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

5. Happy anniversary!

ESO

November 10

The European Southern Observatory released a new image of the Cone Nebula taken with its Very Large Telescope to mark the multi-country collaboration’s 60th anniversary. The VLT’s instruments make the well-studied nebula’s normally blue stars appear gold in color.

ESO

4. Home cooking

Tel Aviv University

November 14

Researchers found the earliest evidence of prehistoric humans using fire to cook from 780,000 years ago — 600,000 years earlier than the next-earliest example. The finding came from analysis of the teeth of a carp-like fish, which show signs of exposure to heat suitable for cooking.

Tel Aviv University

3. Look!

Dr Claudia Wilke, University of York

November 14

Researchers observed one wild chimpanzee showing an object to another for no clear reason but to share the experience. This “showing” behavior has never been seen outside of humans before.

Dr Claudia Wilke, University of York

2. Cosmic hourglass

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI, J. DePasquale (STScI)

November 16

JWST captured a stunning image of a protostar in the Taurus star-forming region. The telescope’s infrared camera allows it to see dust gathering around the forming star and gas ejected in its formation. The star itself is hidden in the center of the hourglass shape.

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI, J. DePasquale (STScI)

1. Worth the wait

NASA

November 16

NASA successfully launched its Artemis I mission, which will collect data and test components for future crewed flights to the Moon. Plagued by coolant leaks and poor weather, the historic launch was delayed for months before the SLS finally took flight just before 2 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.

NASA/Bill Ingalls