The Most Amazing Images of the Week, December 12-16, 2011

As the days get colder, we look to our Images of the Week gallery for comfort. Why yes, this incredible space pic does look like a snow angel! Why yes, I would like a 3-D printed advent calendar candy!

And then there's a picture of an octopus. Because it is scientifically proven (note: requires loose definition of "science") that the octopus is the World's Most Awesome creature. Awesomeness rises above seasonality sometimes. Enjoy the gallery!

Click to launch this week's Images of the Week gallery.

Space Angel

You kind of have to squint and turn your head slightly askew to see it, but this new NASA image is actually sort of seasonally appropriate. Festive, even. It's a space angel! In a bipolar star-forming region 2,000 light-years away in an isolated section of the Milky Way! See it bigger here.NASA

Vesuviuspus

This octopus, selected by National Geographic as a photo of the day, is briefly breaching the surface to take a look at Mount Vesuvius, the snow-covered peak out in the distance. I mean, probably. The octopus is an inscrutable creature.Pasquale Vassallo

Stratolaunch

Paul Allen, not to be confused with our own Paul Adams (whose giant aircraft has yet to be unveiled), is once again working on a ground-breaking bit of aviation engineering: in this case, the biggest plane ever constructed. It's very big. Big enough to replace the Space Shuttle. Read more here.via Seattle Times

Awesome Memorial

Our friends at FastCoDesign got a look at a proposed 9/11 memorial from Dutch artist William Verstraeten. It's intended to replace the amazing view from the old World Trade Center buildings, using panoramic images taken from those towers. Read more here.William Verstraeten

Augmented Chair

One of those ideas you can't believe hasn't been executed before: an aftermarket drive train that attaches to an ordinary, manual wheelchair, turning it into a superchair. Read more about it here.via Physorg

Silver Dollar

This shot of the memorably named Galaxy NGC 253, a spiral galaxy about 11.5 million light-years from Earth, was taken by the ESO at Chile's Very Large Telescope. It's sometimes known as the Silver Dollar galaxy, for obvious reasons. Read more here.ESO/INAF-VST

These Are Your Searches

Each year, Google Zeitgeist rounds up the most popular web searches of the past 12 months. A weird year, this one: a viral music video, three Apple-related searches, and nuclear disasters (that Japanese one is the Fukushima nuclear plant).Google

Fly Hunter

iPad games for cats? Fun and adorable, sure. Smartphone games for bearded lizards? Awesome. And actually, we have to say, despite our well-documented love of cats, this lizard is a way better gamer than those cheetahs. Check out the video here.via YouTube

Dolphin Jetpack

A jetpack that makes you fly like a dolphin--if dolphins could launch themselves 30 feet into the air. Read more, and see video, here.

Keyboard Art

St. Louis artist Sarah Frost has this installation of old keyboard keys set up at the James Hotel in New York. Thousands upon thousands of discarded keys, arranged in a mosaic pattern. It's great. Read more here.Sarah Frost

3-D Printed Advent

We've seen 3-D printers used to make candies before, but Moving Brands, a London-based studio, used a RepRap fabricator in a more seasonally appropriate way: to create 3-D printed chocolates for an advent calendar. Read more here.Motion Brands