Pluto in 3D, A Complete Structure Of Zika, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week

Plus a more affordable Tesla electric car

Nice To Meet Ya, Zika

Scientists from Purdue University this week announced they were successfully able to identify the structure of the Zika virus. They found that while the virus is similar to other flaviviruses, like dengue, it has distinct differences which the researchers think could be the key to finding effective antivirals, vaccines, and tests to better identify Zika. Their work was published in the journal, Science

A More Affordable Tesla

Last night, Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Model 3. While Teslas are known to be high-end luxury, all-electric vehicles, the Model 3 is starting at just 35,000 dollars for its base model. Don’t worry, all Model 3s will come with standard autopilot hardware, safety features, and of course–supercharging.

Send Me On My Way

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured striking views of the Soyuz Rocket as it launched into orbit this week. It carried with it nearly 3 tons of supplies to be used for research projects on the ISS.

Sound Bites

For a performance at the Science Gallery London, artist Matthew Herbert created records out of foodstuffs such as cheese, eggplant, and ham, among others. His goal, according to his blog, was to create audio recordings of ingredients commonly found in processed foods, like sugar, as a way to bring attention to the impact of processed foods on human health. It turns out making a record isn’t as hard as it may seem, give it a try.

Saying Goodbye To Comet 67P

Comet 67P continues to drift away from the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been studying the comet since August of 2014. Rosetta will study the comet until September, at which point it will make a rough landing and likely lose all contact with Earth.

Rocket Power

It’s going to take a lot of fuel to get to Mars. This month engineers at NASA finished the last of the welding that completed this giant liquid oxygen tank–part of NASA’s new Space Launch System–which together with another tank that will store hydrogen, it will help power RS-25 engines.

Rain Check

To better understand what influences the size of rain, researchers captured the first 3D images of rain droplets and snowflakes from space. The image above was created to show how raindrop size is distributed as it leaves a rain cloud. The blue and green drops are the smallest, while the yellow, red, and orange are the largest.

A Blooming Nile

This satellite image of the Nile looks like the river is filled with blood. But in reality, the red color is the result of vegetation growing around the river. The European Space Agency’s new Sentinel-3A satellite, which took this photo, is collecting data about Earth’s oceans, land, and atmosphere.

A Portable Drug Machine

Medications are usually synthesized in batches but that can at times result in shortages. To combat this, researchers at MIT have created a machine the size of a refrigerator that can synthesize multiple kinds of drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and a local anesthetic.

Pluto In 3-D

To view this image, you’d best put on your 3D glasses. NASA’s New Horizons team released a 3D image of Pluto’s “bladed” terrain. The blades, also known as Tartarus Dorsa, are miles apart, and scientists still don’t know how they were formed. To create this picture, the team merged two images taken 14 minutes–and 6,000 miles–apart.
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.