This week in science

NASA's DART launch and more: Understand the world through 9 images

NASA

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

NASA launched its DART planetary defense mission as the James Webb Space Telescope suffered another delay the week of November 18–24.

Here are the week’s biggest science stories, told in 9 stunning images.

Wits University & NYU

9. Suiting up

NASA

November 18

NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station prepared for a spacewalk scheduled for November 30. Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron, whose suits are pictured here in the airlock, will replace a communications antenna on the ISS.

NASA

8. Live slow

Ylenia Chiari

November 18

Researchers found Galápagos giant tortoises evolved to quickly kill off cells damaged by stress or aging, which helps explain their extreme longevity. The researchers say treatments mimicking this ability could help fight cancer.

Ylenia Chiari

7. Late launch

NASA/Chris Gunn

November 22

NASA delayed the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope to no earlier than December 22. The telescope will undergo additional testing after an accident NASA described as “a sudden, unplanned release of a clamp band.”

NASA/Chris Gunn

6. Monarch mutations

Mark Chappell, UC Riverside

November 22

Researchers found organisms that eat monarch butterflies have genetic mutations similar to the ones that let monarchs eat poisonous milkweed. The researchers say it may be the first time the same poison-resistance mutation has been found in multiple steps of the food chain.

Mark Chappell, UC Riverside

5. Postcard from Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech

November 23

NASA engineers combined and colored two images from the Curiosity rover for a stunning view of Mars. The image shows Curiosity’s view from Mount Sharp, where it’s been since 2014.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

November 23

NASA found four confirmed and four potential planet-forming disks in the Flame Nebula, 1,400 light years from Earth. They also found radiation from nearby stars is breaking them apart, meaning they may never form planets.

NASA, ESA, K. Stapelfeldt (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), ESO, DSS2, D. De Martin, Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

November 23

A team of scientists discovered fossilized vertebrae from a two-million-year-old human relative. Combined with previous finds, they form a nearly complete hominid lower back, which suggests Australopithecus sediba was adapted to both walking and climbing.

Wits University & NYU

2. Throwing DARTs

NASA

November 23

NASA launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, which will impact the asteroid Dimorphos in late September or early October 2022. It’s the first mission ever to test the ability to redirect asteroids with spacecraft.

NASA

November 24

NASA’s Hubble telescope captured an image of a rare nebula called a Herbig-Haro object. Herbig-Haro objects occur when gas ejected from a new star creates shockwaves in the dust that surrounds it.

NASA, ESA, and J. Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder), Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)