This week in science

How the Moon formed and more: Understand the world through 8 images

NASA's Ames Research Center

Shutterstock

NASA scientists found support for one theory of how the Moon formed the week of September 29 to October 5, as researchers found a terrestrial ancestor of ancient Pterosaurs.

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

Dr Richard Unitt/UCC

8. The beauty of nature

Li Ping/Courtesy TNC Photo Contest 2022

September 29

The Nature Conservancy announced the winners of its 2022 Photo Contest, highlighting the best in nature photography. This year’s grand prize went to photographer Li Ping, for this image of rainwater gullies carved into a roadside in Tibet.

Li Ping/Courtesy TNC Photo Contest 2022

7. Building better brains

Hajime Ozaki, Watanabe lab/UCI

September 29

Researchers found that growing brain organoids with mouse skin cells combined with four growth factor molecules produces the best results for cell therapy studies. Their guidelines could help standardize organoid development, which may lead to more accurate medical models.

Hajime Ozaki, Watanabe lab/UCI

6. Chilling forecast

Ninara/flickr

October 3

Scientists determined the number of rainy days in the Arctic is likely to double by 2100, surpassing the number of snowy days. That could devastate reindeer populations by trapping their food under ice and further accelerate global warming.

Ninara/flickr

5. An explosive entrance

NASA's Ames Research Center

October 4

Researchers simulated Earth’s collision with the ancient Mars-sized celestial body Theia, showing how it could have created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago. The simulation suggests the molten Earth would have absorbed most of Theia, leaving today’s relatively puny Moon in orbit.

NASA's Ames Research Center

4. Dirty water

Dr Richard Unitt/UCC

October 4

Researchers found an oil sheen just 0.1 micrometers thick on a body of water’s surface can damage the structure and waterproofing of Manx shearwater feathers. That puts seabirds at risk when even tiny amounts of oil are released into the ocean.

Dr Richard Unitt/UCC

3. Ready for takeoff

Gabriel Ugeuetto

October 4

Scientists discovered Scleromochlus taylori — a 20-centimeter-long Triassic reptile that was first identified in 1907 — is a close relative of later pterosaurs. The finding provides evidence that the first flying reptiles arose from earlier small bipeds.

Gabriel Ugeuetto

2. Don’t believe your eyes

Adam Battle/University of Arizona

October 4

Scientists identified asteroid 1998 OR2 as the nearest known source of shock-darkened meteorites, which are altered by impacts to look as if they’re made of different materials. Identifying the sources of these meteorites is important to efforts to deflect potentially hazardous asteroids.

Adam Battle/University of Arizona

1. Dust in the wind

NASA, ESA, CSA, STcI

September 5

NASA combined data from the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes to find where dust is collecting in galaxy pair VV 191. Tracing interstellar dust can show scientists where new stars are forming, and the finding was only possible by comparing the two telescopes’ different capabilities.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STcI