This week in science

NASA reveals DART success and more: Understand the world through 7 images

ASI/NASA/APL

NASA shared results from the first-ever DART asteroid deflection test the week of October 6–12, as astronomers found the surprising source of a mysterious Webb Telescope image.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 7 striking images

Copernicus/ESA/Karla Boxall

7. Glacial pace

Copernicus/ESA/Karla Boxall

October 6

For the first time, researchers observed seasonal changes in the speed of Antarctic glaciers flowing out to an ice shelf. Scientists hypothesized Antarctic ice would not be subject to seasonal change, but glaciers flowing to the George VI Ice Shelf sped up 15 percent during summer.

Copernicus/ESA/Karla Boxall

6. Working from home

H. McKillop et al, ANTIQUITY (2022)

October 7

Underwater excavations shed light on life at Mayan salt production center Ta’ab Nuk Na between 600 and 800 AD. Building remains show three salt kitchens and reveal laborers lived onsite year-round, as salt was crucial to Mayan trade.

H. McKillop et al, ANTIQUITY (2022)

5. Crash test

ASI/NASA/APL

October 11

NASA confirmed its DART mission successfully altered an asteroid’s orbit for the first time in human history. DART’s impact shorted Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos by 32 minutes. Ground- and space-based analysis of the dust plume created on impact and the Hera mission launching in 2024 are expected to reveal more details

ASI/NASA/APL

4. No longer safe

Renee Setter

October 11

Researchers found the ocean environment will be unsuitable for half of all coral reef ecosystems by 2035. By 2055, conditions are predicted to be unsuitable for 99 percent of coral reefs.

Renee Setter

3. Game changer

Kagan et. al / Neuron

October 12

Scientists taught a collection of neurons grown in a dish to play Pong, showing that brain cells can pursue tasks and adapt to their environment. Researchers say this work could lead to a new understanding of intelligence and be used in disease modeling.

Cortical Labs

2. In the deep

Dr Thom Linley, Professor Alan Jamieson

October 12

Scientists identified a fish first found in 2018, Paraliparis selti, in the Atacama Trench off South America’s west coast. It’s the first fish of its genus found in the hadal zone, the deepest part of the ocean.

Dr Thom Linley

1. Stellar shell

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, JPL-Caltech

October 12

Scientists determined the rings around star WR 140 that puzzled astronomers in a Webb Telescope image are caused by at least 17 concentric dust shells — not an alien megastructure, as some suggested. The finding could shed light on how stars form from interstellar dust.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, JPL-Caltech