Mushroom furniture, space balloons, and more

Our favorite science images of the week

Space Balloons

The BACCUS mission out of the University of Maryland is sending balloons into space from a launch pad in Antarctica to investigate the components of cosmic rays particles. These particles will be able to tell scientists about the density and chemical makeup of the space between stars. Because the instruments in the balloons are powered by sunlight, it’s ideal to launch them now – when Antarctica has almost 24 hours of sunlight a day.

‘Shroom Furniture

First mushroom leather, now mushroom furniture. A group of researchers (and apparent mushroom enthusiasts) are using the mycelium “roots” of mushrooms, agriculture waste, and microorganisms to create cute looking mushroom furniture.

Climate Change, In Timelapse

Google released its updated version of Google Timelapse. It lets viewers see the effects of climate change on the world, including rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and receding forests. Take a look at it here.

Space Sunset

Sunsets on Earth are already gorgeous. In space, they get even better. An astronaut on the ISS snapped this image showing the contrast between an already darkened Earth surface and the sun setting in the distance.

Nocturnal Clouds

Noctilucent clouds, also called polar mesospheric clouds, sit just high enough in the atmosphere to capture the tiniest bit of sunlight. NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) spacecraft took this photo of the distinctive looking clouds over Antarctica this week.
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.