This week in science

NASA’s Lucy mission launches and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA

A trip to the Trojan asteroids begins as an unconventional crew returns to Earth...

Here are the biggest science stories of October 14–20, told in 8 amazing images.

Elizabeth Clark and Javier Luque

8. Cretaceous crab

Javier Luque and Lida Xing

October 20

Scientists found the first example of a Cretaceous-era crab preserved in amber. Cretapsara athanata is both the oldest modern-looking crab and the most complete fossil crab ever discovered.

Javier Luque and Lida Xing

7. Seeing the light

Geir Johnsen, CC-BY 4.0

October 19

Researchers discovered that Arctic krill are sensitive to minute changes in light, which lets them maintain their circadian rhythm even during the dark polar winter.

Geir Johnsen, CC-BY 4.0

October 18

Researchers discovered a new mechanism that aggressive breast cancer cells use to spread to surrounding tissue, by hijacking normal cell function. The finding could open new avenues of research to understand how cancer spreads.

Paulina Moreno-Layseca and Turku Bioimaging

October 18

Researchers found stem cell-derived photoreceptor precursor transplants could treat inherited retinal diseases. These diseases are a leading cause of vision loss and are difficult to treat with gene therapy due to the high number of implicated genes.

NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

4. Challenge accepted

NASA

October 17

A Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth after 191 days on the ISS and three spacewalks. He was accompanied by an actress and director, who spent nearly two weeks shooting the film Challenge aboard the space station.

NASA

3. Lucy in the sky

NASA

October 16

NASA’s Lucy mission began its 12-year journey to study the Trojan asteroids. These asteroids near Jupiter are thought to be leftover material from the formation of the early solar system.

NASA

2. Mixed signals

Salk Institute

October 14

Researchers discovered that the cuneate nucleus in the mammalian brainstem is responsible for filtering distracting signals from the hands, allowing for dexterous movement. The finding could lead to better prosthetics and neural repair techniques.

Salk Institute

October 14

Researchers determined that the mass extinction event that wiped out dinosaurs led to modern snakes’ extremely diverse diets. As bird and mammals populations exploded, snakes rapidly adapted to feed on new species.

John David Curlis, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology