Moonlit snow, water on Ceres, and more

Our favorite images of the week

hurricane tracking

Hurricane Tracker

A NASA mission called the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), which includes eight small satellites, launched this week. Its goal is to better understand how hurricanes form in order to more accurately predict how and when they will occur. One advantage of this system is that it will focus only on areas around the tropics, where most hurricanes form.NASA
XPRIZE competition finalist

Patient, Diagnose Thyself

In many ways, the tricorder in Star Trek is the ultimate piece of medical technology: A handheld device that can diagnose any disease in the body. In 2012, tech company Qualcomm created an XPRIZE competition to challenge engineers and doctors to create a device similar to the fictional tool. We took a first look at the two finalists' prototypes, which show us that our future doctor might simply be a tiny, high-tech medical box.XPRIZE
moonlight reflecting from snow

Snow Light

The weather these past two weeks has been rough for communities around the Great Lakes. Last week, the region was smothered with several feet of snow, and this week, an arctic air mass piled a few more feet on top. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite, which can detect even extremely dim light sources, took this image above. The white areas show where the full moon is reflecting off of large piles of snow.Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory
cars communicating their surroundings

Talking Cars

Behind the wheel, humans make mistakes and cause accidents. That's mostly because we have bad communication skills (among other reasons). To make roads safer, the U.S. Department of Transportation wants cars to "talk" to each other. New technology that forces cars to broadcast their surroundings to other vehicles might prevent many accidents in the future.Department of Transportation
dry ice land formation on Mars

Dry Ice Bubbles

These crazy land formations, which look more like human intestines, can only be found on the south pole of Mars. They form when dry ice (carbon dioxide), which makes up the pole, is punctuated with holes. Over time, air slowly leaks in and puffs up the surface.NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Ceres On Ice

Scientists are pretty sure that Ceres, the dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter, holds water. But a new paper out this week suggests that it might contain more than liquid H2O: A portion of its surface, particularly near the poles, could be coated in a thin layer of ice. Studying how it built up there will help researchers understand how ice forms all over our solar system.T.H. Prettyman and N. Yamashita, Planetary Science Institute