Olympic Cupping, Saturn In Infrared, And More

Our 10 favorite images of the week

Gaining Muscle Recovery With Brain Training

Current thought is that if someone becomes paralyzed and remains that way with no improvement for more than a year, they are likely to remain in that state for the rest of their lives. But neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis is challenging that notion. This week, in the journal Scientific Reports, he announced the success of his therapy using a brain computer interface to help paraplegics regain some muscle control. It appears to be working better than he and his team expected. Read more about it here.

Liquid Canyons On Titan

The Grand Canyon and other ones like it are some of Earth’s most marvelous formations. It turns out these canyons may not be unique to our planet. Researchers announced this week that the Cassini spacecraft has identified canyons on Saturn’s moon Titan similar to those seen on Earth. While Earth’s were formed by water, Titan’s were formed by a hydrocarbon, like oil or methane.

A Jet Full Of Bees

Back in June, the U.S. Air Force found a group of unwanted invaders on the exhaust nozzle of an F-22. The unwanted guests? Bees. A lot of them. To save the F-22 and the bees, the military sent up a beekeeper to vacuum the bees into large buckets and then transport them to a more suitable environment. The beekeeper captured 20,000 bees that in total weighed eight pounds. Check out the suctioning task here.

Saturn’s Gaseous Atmosphere In Infrared

Many images taken of Saturn are meant to capture the planet’s geological landscape. Instead, this one, whose colors were created by NASA engineer Kevin M. Gill, was taken at different nanometers of infrared light. The goal was to understand how the planet’s gaseous atmosphere interacts with sunlight. [H/T Gizmodo]

Cupping Gets Its Five Minutes Of Olympic Fame

The ancient practice of cupping, where a section of skin is reverse-suctioned to provide relief to the injured or sore muscle below, has been prominently displayed at the 2016 Rio Olympics where swimmer Michael Phelps and a host of gymnasts are walking around with the after effects of the treatment: A perfectly shaped circular bruise. While cupping sounds enticing, little evidence suggests that the ancient treatment actually works beyond the often underestimated placebo effect.

A Movie Trailer, Seen Through Social Media Filters

Russian film makers promoting a film called Delete My Photos, about a man’s quest to create a dating site, decided to create a trailer in which each scene has been put through filters common on social media platforms like Instagram. The result is a less than real reality of what people actually look like, but one that we are increasingly living in.

Martian Valley

The Southern Mawrth Vallis, literally meaning Martian Valley, is a proposed landing site for ExoMars. But it’s hard to see exactly what it will look like. This image, created using a combination of high resolution orthoimagery that combines composites of the same image taken at different angles, provides a clearer idea of the area. Kevin Gill created this image and others which can be seen here.

A Real Mushroom Leather Jacket

Leather isn’t really that great for the environment, but at the same time, it’s still tempting to buy a leather jacket for its soft and supple feel. Phil Ross, an artist and founder of Mycoworks, is trying to solve this problem with mushrooms. He and his team are making leather out of the mycelium of a mushroom. Using specific temperatures and humidity conditions, Ross has been able to grow material that looks and feels like cow leather, but with a better environmental footprint.

Rio’s Air Pollution, Seen From Space

The satellite image above, taken on NASA’s Terra satellite by a Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument, shows the air pollution above Rio de Janeiro, the site of the current Olympics. While the image might look like the air quality is quite poor, it’s not even close to the amount of smog in other parts of the world like Beijing, China. In the future, researchers want to take similar images from other parts of the world to compare the quality of the air in those areas.

Who Are The Rebels?

It’s time to find out who the rebels are that built the alliance before Luke Skywalker came into the picture. The makers of the upcoming Star Wars film Rogue One released a new trailer this week. Check out Popular Science reporter Kelsey Atherton’s take on it here.
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.