Floating Orbs Of Molten Metal, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week

Sciencey junk food for your eyeballs

A Smooth Liftoff

After being delayed by a day, a test launch of an unmanned Orion crew capsule executed flawlessly this morning. At 7:05 a.m. ET, the capsule was on its way though the earth’s atmosphere, and by 7:30 a.m., it was 3,600 miles away from Earth. In a few decades, the Orion capsule may take the first astronauts to Mars.

Molten Metal Orb In Electromagnetic Levitator In Space

Scientists aboard the International Space Station used an electromagnetic levitator to observe how a molten metal ball cools outside the constraints of gravity.

Hubble’s Legacy

As Hubble nears its 25th birthday, NASA has stopped upgrading the decaying space telescope. If it doesn’t receive more service trips, it will probably fall out of orbit to a fiery death in the earth’s atmosphere within the next decade. Hubble is still operational now, but perhaps in the not-so-far-off future, the only thing we’ll have to remember it by will be the hundreds of thousands of spectacular space photos the telescope took over the years–like this one of the mountains of dust and gas in the Carina Nebula.

Ultra Fast Camera Captures Laser

Compressed ultra-fast photography is the name of a new camera works at up to 100 billion frames per second. It captured this photograph of a laser light the moment it ricocheted off a mirror. Although it’s not the fastest camera in existence, it’s still unique because it creates better pictures without needing to piece together similar events.

Our Galaxy’s Magnetic Field, Revealed

This image, captured by the Planck spacecraft, is one of the first to document the undulations of the Milky Way’s magnetic field. The colors have been altered to show temperature, with the red sections the hottest and the dark blue parts the coldest.

Robotic Exoskeleton

Bionic exoskeleton suits are helping stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury patients relearn how to walk. This suit, manufactured by Ekso Bionics, was originally developed for DARPA to allow for soldiers to carry heavy loads. However, now they’ve become an essential component of physical rehabilitation at some clinics. Watch how the Ekso suit has changed paraplegic patient Jason Geisner’s life here.

Satellite Tracks Volcanic Activity Through Radar

Scientists have been tracking ground deformation patterns using the Sentinel-1A satellite’s radar scanning capabilities. This radar scan combines two images of Fogo — one before and the other after the eruption.

Teeth Look Knarly

The human mouth is home to over 300 species of bacteria. The yellow surface of a human tooth is seen up-close and personal in a colored scanning electron micrograph, blanketed in blue-colored bacteria and red blood cells.

Glowing Buggy Trails

Cities all across the world are swapping out their old street lights for ultra-efficient LED lamps. Though these new lights have saved cities like Los Angeles millions of dollars in electricity, one possible downside of LED lamps is they may attract more flying invertebrates, with negative consequences for certain ecosystems. Watch this super neat video made of long-exposure photographs of insects flying around a (non-LED) street lamp.