Rocket Goes Boom, A Ring Of Fire, And More Amazing Images

Our 10 favorite science pics this week

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion on 9/1/2016

SpaceX Falcon 9 Out With A Bang

A SpaceX rocket exploded on a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station rocket pad Thursday morning, with some people in the area reporting that the explosion was felt four miles from the launch site. SpaceX issued a statement, saying: "SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today's static fire, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload. Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries." The payload on this Falcon 9 rocket was Amos-6, a 12,125 pound satellite that would have been the heaviest payload launched by SpaceX to date. This video of the explosion was captured by U.S. Launch Report.U.S. Launch Report
Annular Eclipse

Annular Eclipse Timelapse

Images from the annular eclipse in Africa on Sept. 1. The eclipse wasn't a total eclipse, where the moon would block out the entire sun, but rather an annular eclipse, which leaves a lovely 'ring of fire' visible to observers. Watch the solar eclipse in a beautiful time-lapse captured by Slooh and Weathernews Japan, here.Slooh and Weathernews Japan
Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle

The Army's Hovercraft

In a rich history spanning mostly the 1950s and 1960s, the Army looked for some way to make an individual soldier airborne, in a useful way. And with a new, proven hoverbike design in the works, it seemed the 2010s could realize the abandoned dream of the 1960s. At the center of this scene is the hoverbike, which was briefly the Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle, and is now the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle.David McNally, U.S. Army

We're Overheating The Pikas

The American pika does not like it hot. Global warming is driving the tiny American pika from its mountainous territory in western North America, scientists reported August 25 in the Journal of Mammalogy. Pikas (Ochotona princeps) have an ultra-warm coat that helps them survive high in the mountains, but leaves the animals poorly equipped to handle rising temperatures. In the new survey, researchers discovered that pikas are vanishing from many longstanding habitats, largely because of climate change.Alan D. Wilson via Wikimedia Commons
jim harris

From A Driveway To An Asteroid

Ten years ago, engineer Jim Harris attached an upside-down plastic cup to a compressor in his dirt driveway. Next month, the completed mechanism — known as TAGSAM — will begin its journey to Bennu, our closest neighboring asteroid (186,000 miles at its closest orbit). Once it gets there, it will try to retrieve a sample that could change our understanding of how the solar system formed. Here, Harris holds the final iteration of the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism.Lockheed Martin
Jupiter as seen by NASA's Juno spacecraft on Aug. 27, 2016

Jupiter Ascending

The view of Jupiter from Juno's closest approach on August 27.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Who's a good boy?

Who's A Good Boy?

According to a new study that will be published in Science this week, dogs understand more that you'd think. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology (fMRI) researchers were able to observe the brain activity in dogs as they listened to their trainer's voices. Here, these very good dogs pose near the fMRI machine used in the study.Enikő Kubinyi
Tasmanian devil

Taz Fights Back

Tasmanian devils have had the outrageously bad fortune to be plagued by not just one, but two contagious cancers. But the ferocious Australian animals might finally be catching a break. Tasmanian devils may be evolving to resist devil facial tumor disease, which has wiped out nearly 80 percent of their population over the past 20 years.Menna Jones
Exiting The Hi-SEAS Habitat

Exiting The Hi-SEAS Habitat

On August 28, six people stepped onto the ground at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, breathing in air unfiltered by a spacesuit or habitat for the first time in a year. They had spent the past 365 days living as though they were part of a mission to Mars.University Of Hawaii News
wolf pups

Barking Up Trees

Wolves approach risk differently than dogs do, according to a new study out of the Wolf Science Centre in Ernstbrunn, Austria. In trails, wolves chose the risky option 80 percent of the time, while dogs only took a risk 58 percent of the time. Researchers roughly estimate that humans domesticated dogs between 18,000 to 30,000 years ago, taking away the urgency of getting a big meal, or nothing at all.Flickr user Tambako The Jaguar