This week in science

Ingenuity flies and more: Understand the world through 9 images

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

As NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made its historic first flight on Mars, researchers made new discoveries even deeper in space during the week of April 14–21.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 9 astonishing images.

April 14

Researchers from Japan and the U.S. discovered stable titanium in the remnants of the Cas A supernova. Its presence suggests previous simulations showing neutrinos driving stellar explosions are accurate.

Chandra: NASA/CXC/RIKEN/T. Sato et al.; NuSTAR: NASA/NuSTAR; Hubble: NASA/STScI

April 15

NASA released a visualization showing the interplay of accretion disks of two orbiting supermassive black holes. It demonstrates how the gravity from such binary black holes bends light.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman and Brian P. Powell

April 16

The Hubble Space Telescope captured evidence of gravitational lensing in the galaxy cluster Abell 2813. The phenomenon occurs when light bends around a massive object and is used as proof of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Coe

6. What makes stars grow?

Takemura et al.

April 16

Researchers in Japan developed an extraordinarily high-resolution map of the Orion Nebula Cluster, finding evidence for the theory that a new star’s mass is determined by how much gas it accretes while forming — not the size of its core.

Takemura et al.

5. Earth’s distant relative

Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC)

April 16

Researchers in the Canary Islands discovered a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf 36 light-years from Earth. The planet, three times the mass of Earth, is believed to a rocky world and could be the subject of future study with very large diameter telescopes.

Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC)

4. Something in the water

Tokyo Metropolitan University

April 17

Scientists in Japan discovered an amphibious centipede, named Ryuji-ômukade after a dragon god of local Okinawan folklore. It’s only the third amphibious centipede ever discovered, and the first new centipede found in Japan in 143 years.

Tokyo Metropolitan University

3. First flight

NASA

April 19

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter completed its first test flight on Mars. The historic event marks the first guided, powered flight on another planet.

NASA

2. Little Foot, big shoulders

Paul John Myburgh

April 20

Analysis of the Little Foot Australopithecus skeleton by the University of Southern California revealed apelike shoulders adapted for climbing trees. The research suggests there were similarities between early humans and other apes much more recently than previous findings claimed.

Paul John Myburgh

1. Inside an exciton

OIST

April 21

Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology captured the first image of the internal orbits of an exciton. These particles are crucial for making semiconductors work. They also can only exist for fractions of a second, making them incredibly difficult to study.

OIST

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