This week in science

NASA launches CAPSTONE and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA

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

NASA/Daniel Rutter

8. Keep your chin up

UCLA Gender Health Program

June 22

UCLA Gender Health doctors created a method to perform “scarless” tracheal shave surgeries, which reduce the Adam’s apple, without expensive specialized equipment. It could lead help protect trans women and nonbinary people who’ve received the gender-affirming treatment from being outed.

UCLA Gender Health Program

June 23

Scientists discovered the Ca. Thiomargarita magnifica bacterium in mangrove forests of Guadeloupe. At nearly 5,000 times larger than typical bacteria, they can be seen by the naked eye and are about the size of a human eyelash.

The Regents of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

6. Grow in the dark

Marcus Harland-Dunaway/UCR

June 23

Researchers developed a way to grow plants without sunlight using artificial photosynthesis. More efficient than natural photosynthesis, it could be used in conjunction with typical growing techniques to improve crops. It could also allow crops to grow in more controlled conditions, and even in space.

Marcus Harland-Dunaway/UCR

June 24

Scientists recovered the best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth ever found in North America, in Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory within the Yukon. Dubbed Nun cho ga, or “big baby animal,” it’s the first near-complete mammoth found on the continent, dated to more than 30,000 years old.

Prof. Dan Shugar/University of Calgary

4. Double crater, what does it mean?

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

June 24

Images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed the rocket that crashed into the Moon on March 4 left an unexpected double crater. Rocket crashes typically leave one crater, since their mass is concentrated at one end. This surprising crater could help identify the rocket, which likely had large masses on both ends.

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

June 27

Researchers determined Australopithecus fossils found in South Africa’s Sterkfontein Caves are 1 million years older than expected. New dating techniques revealed them to be around 3.5 million years old, dramatically changing our timeline of human evolution in South Africa.

Jason Heaton, Ronald Clarke/Ditsong Museum of Natural History

2. Artemis’ pathfinder

Rocket Lab

June 28

NASA launched its CAPSTONE CubeSat, a craft designed to test a new, elongated orbit around the Moon. The test will determine if the trajectory planned for the Artemis 1 launch later this year is viable.

Rocket Lab

1. Earth: 1, Asteroid: 0

ESO/O. Hainaut

June 29

Rest easy. Just before Asteroid Day, the ESA determined asteroid 2021 QM1 won’t strike Earth in 2052. Discovered last year, the asteroid was considered likely to impact the planet based on its trajectory.

ESO/O. Hainaut