A Concept Wooden Car, A Suit That Makes You Feel 85, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week

Plus, NASA released 2.95 million new images of Earth

Rainbow Wasp Nests

With the help of some multi colored construction paper, a colony of European paper wasps built this vibrant nest. Biology student Mattia Menchetti provided one color at a time to the wasps so that the finished product would be a colorful mix, pictured above.

Turbulence From Space

Amidst the turbulent waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf Stream waters flow in parallel lines, as seen by this image taken on March 9th by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite. Pigmented phytoplankton that gets picked up in the process makes the turbulence visible.

A Car Made Of Wood

At the Milan Design Week next Monday, Toyota will debut its latest and possibly most unique design–a car made almost entirely out of wood. The Setsuna, pictured above, is made out of cedar and birch and is designed to be a family car that lasts through the generations. The decision to use wood, Toyota says in the press release, is that it is a material that is both durable and prone to change over time, which symbolizes the relationship between people and their cars.

The Hidden Beauty Of Peacock Feathers

We already know that a peacock’s feathers are strikingly beautiful, but these upclose photos taken by photographer, Waldo Nell, show the beauty at an even deeper level. As Nell tells Wired, “From afar you only see the pattern of the eye. From up close you can see the bundles of barbules and coloration unique to each segment. There is a lot of beauty hidden that you can only see up close.”

Aging In Virtual Reality

To better understand what it feels like to age, Genworth and Applied Minds created this exoskeleton suit, which when worn, simulates the visual, hearing, and muscular changes that accompany aging. I got to try on the suit at a media preview at Liberty Science Center. Here’s what becoming 85 felt like to me.

Primate Strength Training

It turns out the gray mouse lemur, the largest of its kind, can pull over 10 times its own body weight. A group of scientists tested the tiny primates pull strength by letting the lemurs grab onto a bar and then gently pulling them away from it. Compared to other animals they’ve tested, like mice that can only pull less than a quarter of their body weight, this is pretty impressive. However, as lead author Anthony Herrel explained to Discover, mouse lemurs live on especially narrow branches, so, “to walk on narrow branches you need to be able to grip really well, as otherwise you will topple sideways.”

A Martian Dust Devil

Just like on Earth, Mars experiences dust devils, too. The Opportunity rover caught a snapshot of one as it twisted through the valley below the slope of Knudsen Ridge. On both Mars and Earth, dust devils form when rising columns of hot air whirl so fast that they pick up dust in the process, which makes the whirling more noticeable.

Lab Grown Skin That Also Glows

A team of researchers in Japan grew a fully functioning patch of skin from stem cells of adult mice. Just like regular skin, their lab grown kind can grow hair and secrete oils, but it can also glow. To track where the skin cells were growing, the researchers placed protein markers that made them light up. Don’t worry, if this someday gets used to help burn victims regrow their skin, they will take the glow markers out.

Nicaragua’s Momotombo Erupting, From Space

This week, NASA released images from The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, also known as “ASTER,” a Japanese-built instrument that sat aboard a NASA research satellite for 16 years collecting data revealing Earth’s changing surface. NASA just made all 2.95 million images free, including this one which shows Nicaragua’s stratovolcano, Momotombo December 2015 eruption. You can see the rest of the images here.

DARPA’s Ro-boat

This week, DARPA christened its new robotic hunting submarine called the ACTUV, which stands for Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel. The boat, an autonomous 130 foot long vessel, marks the dawn of a new era for the Navy, as it’s designed to track and follow other submarines. For now, it remains unarmed.
Claire Maldarelli
Claire Maldarelli

is the Science Editor at Popular Science. She has a particular interest in brain science, the microbiome, and human physiology. In addition to Popular Science, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World and Super Science magazines, among others. She has a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in science journalism from New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Contact the author here.