This week in science

Inspiration4 launch day and more: Understand the world through 8 images

SpaceX

Inspiration4 prepares for launch as the ISS gets an upgrade...

Here are the biggest science stories from September 1015, told in 8 amazing images.

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September 10

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a striking image of the NGC 6717 globular cluster — a gravity-bound collection of stars 20,000 light-years from Earth. NGC 6717 sits in the Sagittarius constellation.

ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Sarajedini

7. Defanged

Lubich et al.

September 10

Scientists discovered a species of parasitic candiru (or vampire fish) that don’t seem to feed on its hosts, as other candiru do. The scientists hypothesize that they could be using their hosts to hide from predators or to transport them long distances.

Lubich et al.

6. Cracking the shell

Brookhaven National Laboratory

September 10

Researchers discovered that organic materials in the hard shell of a marine invertebrate called Discinisca tenuis can absorb water, making it soft and flexible until exposed to air. Designs mimicking the shell could be used to develop synthetic bone or protective clothing.

Brookhaven National Laboratory

5. Gravitas

SpaceX

September 12

Elon Musk revealed SpaceX’s newest drone ship, A Shortfall of Gravitas. The upgraded ship is completely autonomous, whereas previous ships had to be ferried out to sea to catch rockets.

SpaceX

4. On the job

NASA

September 12

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide completed a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The pair installed a bracket that will later support a Roll-Out Solar Array, providing the station with power.

NASA

September 13

Black and white images of the coronavirus do a better job convincing the public of its contagiousness than colorized pictures, according to a new study. However, eye-catching colorized images are more common than informative black and white ones.

Andreu-Sánchez, C., Martín-Pascual, M.Á., (2021).

September 14

Researchers discovered that a set of 21 carvings of camels found in Northern Arabia date back to the Neolithic period. That makes the life-size carvings the oldest surviving large-scale reliefs ever discovered.

M. Guagnin & G. Charloux

1. Ready to inspire

SpaceX

September 15

SpaceX prepared to launch the first-ever all-civilian astronaut crew with its Inspiration4 mission. The crew will spend three days in orbit aboard a Crew Dragon capsule.

SpaceX