This week in science

SpaceX Inspiration4 and more: Understand the world through 10 images

CHEN Yu

SpaceX prepared for its first all-civilian flight and completed a mission for the U.S. Space Force the week of June 17–23, while scientists made surprising discoveries about insects and animals on Earth.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 10 astonishing images.

SpaceX

10. Ancient migration

IVPP

June 17

Researchers discovered a new species of ancient giant rhino, Paraceratherium linxiaense, in China. The fossils paint a fuller picture of giant rhino migration and suggest they crossed Tibet to disperse through Asia.

IVPP

June 17

Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array confirmed gravitational instabilities around stars are a precursor to planet formation. The team used observations from Elias 2-27, a widely studied star.

ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/T. Paneque-Carreño (Universidad de Chile), B. Saxton (NRAO)

June 18

Researchers in the U.K. found footprints from at least six dinosaurs on the coast of Kent. Based on their depth, they’re thought to be among the last dinosaurs in the U.K. before their extinction.

Megan Jacobs, University of Portsmouth

7. Long trip home

Orio Massana

June 21

Researchers in the U.K. discovered the Painted Lady butterfly can fly nearly 9,000 miles round trip from sub-Saharan Africa to Western Europe in the right weather conditions. It’s the longest known insect migration and could help scientists predict migrations driven by climate change.

Orio Massana

6. Sexy crab

Tohru Naruse

June 21

Researchers in Japan and Singapore discovered the first known crab species with asymmetrical sex organs in males and females. The crab is now called Mabui calculus, but scientists have nicknamed it the “sexy crab.”

Tohru Naruse

5. Mission complete

SpaceX

June 21

A Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed at sea on a drone ship after a mission for the U.S. Space Force. The rocket carried a navigation satellite into orbit.

SpaceX

4. Civilians in space

Jared Isaacman

June 21

Training continued for the crew of Inspiration4, the first all-commercial trip to orbit for SpaceX. The three-day mission is set to launch in September.

Jared Isaacman

June 22

Researchers at Columbia University discovered stress does, in fact, turn hair gray. It also seems that reducing stress can return stress-induced gray hair back to its previous color.

Rosenberg et al. (2021)

2. Small but deadly

Jiayi Jin

June 22

Researchers in Australia found the pain-inducing venom from the Doratifera vulnerans caterpillar contains peptides that could be useful in medicine, including treatments for parasites. The venom is extremely complex, containing 151 distinct toxins.

Jiayi Jin

1. Another win for Ingenuity

NASA/JPL

June 22

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter completed its eighth successful flight since April. This trip took it to a new landing site around 437 feet from the Perseverance rover.

NASA/JPL

Read more science stories here.

Jared Isaacman

Share