If you click on this link
, you are about to view some astonishingly beautiful images from this year's Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. The 30 finalists came from around 4,500 entries from 80 countries around the world. Andrew Caldwell
Our Spaceship Design Contest Winner, Ao-Shun
Back in April, Popular Science asked for you to send us your own ambitious spaceship designs. The rules? We needed an image of the design itself and that the ideas behind the structure must have some level of seriousness that is based on current science and tech. Four designs stood out to us, which can be seen here, but one stood way above the others. As seen above, Andy Wright’s hydrogen-powered Ao-Shun can hold a crew of four to 36 and can even travel to Mars in 2.5 days. Something to strive for.
New Antibiotic Resource: The Nose
Researchers have searched all over the world for new antibiotic therapies. But a new antibiotic that can potentially treat the drug resistant bacteria MRSA has been hiding inside our noses the whole time. Scientists this week report the discovery of lugdunin, a compound that grows inside the nose that was found to be effective against MRSA infections in mice. As of yet, MRSA hasn’t shown any resistance to lugdunin.
Home Is Where The Heart Is Healthiest
Bad news for future Mars explorers: A new study out this week shows that deep space radiation might have a negative effect on an astronaut’s cardiovascular health. The study analyzed the cardiovascular health of the seven astronauts who were part of the Apollo missions, a group of only a handful of astronauts who have traveled to deep space and experienced its effects. The researchers found that those astronauts were four or five times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. By exposing mice to mimicked deep space radiation, the study found that the radiation damages the cells that line the blood vessels, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. While this isn’t great news, the study was small, and researchers are hoping to do more research to understand the mechanism better.
Game Of Thrones Ants
No, they don’t breathe fire, but they do have pretty cool names. Out this week in the journal PLOS One are descriptions of two new ant species named after Game Of Thrones dragons: Pheidole viserion and Pheidole drogon. In addition to their huge heads, they also have large spikes on their backs, which reminded the researchers of the dragons from Game Of Thrones. Above is the Pheidole viserion, and the other one can be found here.
A Fork, A Spoon, And A Moon (And Other Beautiful Images)
If you click on this link, you are about to view some astonishingly beautiful images from this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. The 30 finalists came from around 4,500 entries from 80 countries around the world.
The Corpse Flower Is Blooming
The official name of the plant seen above is Amorphophallus titanum, but it’s better known as the Corpse Flower–a nickname it acquired due to the noxious stench it emits when it blooms. The plant takes four to five years to bloom, so it’s a pretty big deal that this one pictured, located at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, New York, is blooming now and for the next 24 to 48 hours. If you’re in New York and are planning a trip there, be sure to bring your nose plugs. If you aren’t in New York, or want to save your sense of smell, you can watch it live here.
Spelunking For Science
As part of their training, a group of six astronauts spent a week in a cave system in Italy. The expedition, called Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising (CAVE), will help astronauts to adapt to space travel missions. As Ricky Arnold, a U.S. astronaut who flew to the International Space Station in 2009 puts it: “Opening that shuttle hatch and getting a whiff of Earth again is very similar to coming up from a cave because it’s a very sterile environment. At the end of our mission, I stood in the cave entrance and just took in these long, deep breaths. In every lungful of air you can smell all the plants and animals and it’s a really unique experience.”
Can The English Bulldog Be Healthy Again?
Looking at the English Bulldog, it’s not hard to understand why despite being one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, it’s also among the sickest. According to a new study published in the journal, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, it will be extremely difficult, perhaps impossible now, to improve the dog’s health through genetics because their gene pool is so constricted–almost surely a result of inbreeding.
A Veggie Burger, Done Rare
Much of the mouth-watering allure of a hamburger is the bloody juice coming out from the middle of it. But if you are a vegetarian or are trying to watch your intake of red meat, eating a veggie burger hasn’t had quite the same appeal as a real meat burger–until now. This week, New York’s Momofuku Nishi became the first restaurant to serve the Impossible Burger, a meatless bloody burger from the Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods. Its secret? The iron-containing molecule heme, which gives meat burgers their red color and flavor.
SPIDER, A Blimp Repair And Inspection Bot
A small hole in a blimp can be a huge deal. But since blimps are so big, those holes can be hard to find. So Skunk Works, a research laboratory headed by Lockheed Martin, invented the SPIDER, a magnetic robot that crawls the surface of a blimp looking for and repairing holes. This new bot will come in handy for new age airships.