Parachute practice, a CT scanned pigeon, and other amazing images of the week
pigeon CT scan

The Art Of Anatomy

This mildly terrifying CT scan of a pigeon is a candidate in this year’s Welcome Images contest for best scientific and medical images. And guess what? You can vote too, right here. In this image, scientists injected the pigeon with the contrast agent BriteVu prior to being scanned. This made every blood vessel and capillary in its body visible.
rita levi-montalcini

Be like Rita Levi-Montalcini. Don’t let fascist rulers hinder your research.

Another Welcome Images entry depicts Italian neurobiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909–2012), who under Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s rule, was barred from pursuing an academic career. But that didn’t stop her. She built a secret lab in her home, and after WWII, she traveled to the United States to continue her work. While in America, she discovered the nerve growth factor (NGS) with her colleague Stanley Cohen, which earned the pair a Nobel Prize.
orion spacecraft parachutes

Preparing For Mars

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is designed to take astronauts to deep space—and then bring them back home. This week, NASA engineers successfully tested the last leg of the journey, which involves safely descending through the sky, en route to an ocean landing. This test, however, happened in the desert. Three massive parachutes were deployed, easing the Orion crew capsule to the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
map of wildfires in the USA

Where Do Your Wildfires Come From?

Humans have caused over eight in 10 wildfires in the United States. This map allows you to see how folks in your state have contributed to conflagrations—significant enough to necessitate firefighting—over the two-decade period between 1992 and 2012. Just last month, a cigarette tossed out a car window sparked a 150-acre fire in Colorado. In some parts of the country, depicted by the grey and blue dots, lightening is the primary cause of wildfires.
northern bald Ibis

A Little Ugly, But Absolutely Endangered

This week, PopSci staff writer Kendra Pierre-Louis noted that although some endangered animals are cuter than others, they are all equally important—even if some will probably never win any beauty pageants. For example, the strange-looking northern bald Ibis disappeared from Europe 300 years ago. Today, just a few hundred remain in the wild elsewhere in the world.
water droplets spewing bacteria into the air

Atmospheric Bacteria

If you can’t figure out what that image above is, here’s a hint: Its water droplets spewing bacteria into the air. A new study suggests that rain drops do the same thing when they bounce off porous surfaces, like dirt. Once floating through the air, bacteria can survive for up to an hour. In some places, researchers estimate that up to 25 percent of atmospheric bacteria take to the air from raindrops. Happy breathing.