This week in science

Physics of solar storms and more: Understand the world in 8 images

NASA

Scientists found insights into the natural world through research on rats and bees, while discoveries in space illuminated our solar system and beyond the week of July 22–28.

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

Historical/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

8. Up-close with the genome

Vicky Neguembor/CRG

July 22

Scientists used a new microscopy technique to image loops of DNA strands for the first time. The new perspective gives researchers the clearest picture yet of how the human genome is physically organized.

Vicky Neguembor / CRG

July 22

Researchers found levels of neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate in the brain’s intraparietal sulcus can predict a person’s math ability. High GABA levels are linked to high ability in children, but lower GABA is better in adults.

G. Zacharopoulos, et al. PLOS BIOLOGY (2021)

6. Mapping Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech

July 24

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter completed its tenth flight on Mars — with the highest, most complex flight path to date. The scouting mission over the Raised Ridges region could help Perseverance navigate the rocky terrain in the future.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

5. Water on Ganymede?

ESA/Hubble, M. Garlick

July 26

The Hubble Space Telescope captured the first evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. The ESA plans on launching a mission to this part of the universe in 2022.

ESA/Hubble, M. Garlick

4. Busy bees

Michael L. Smith

July 26

Researchers found honeybees have more complex comb-building behaviors than previously thought. Bees can build in irregular patterns to overcome challenges like merging two combs.

Michael L. Smith

3. Ancient highway

Ignacio A. Lazagabaster

July 26

Researchers determined that a migration corridor may once have connected eastern Africa to the Levant. They found evidence in crested rat fossils in the area, which today couldn’t support the animals.

Ignacio A. Lazagabaster

2. Spinning spheroids

ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

July 27

Astrophysicists observed transverse rotation in three dwarf spheroidal galaxies for the first time. The finding suggests that this type of difficult-to-observe galaxy is formed from smaller systems.

ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

July 27

An all-female research team revealed an analysis of an unusual solar storm with two ejections that happened on International Women’s Day in 2019. The finding could aid predictions of these dangerous storms in the future.

M. Dumbović, et al. ASTRONOMY & PHYSICS. (2021)

Read more science stories here.

Pavel Odinev / Skoltech