The Most Amazing Images of the Week, January 9-13, 2012

This week, in the midst of the Consumer Electronics Show, the Detroit Auto Show, and the 219th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, we were inundated with pictures. The most exciting gadgets, the hottest cars, and the most humbling, beautiful space pics all showed up this week. But that doesn't mean we can't also take time and look at adorable Japanese robot...things. Or frogs so tiny they can comfortably hang out on the surface of a dime.

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

Pope, Cuban Crocodile. Cuban Crocodile, Pope

This is a picture of the Pope meeting a rare baby Cuban crocodile. If you need more context, you can find it here, but really, the picture kind of says it all.AFP/Getty Images

Therapeutically Cute

A Japanese robot called the Babyloid (a name so close to making sense in English but still falling a touch short) is designed to be cute. That cuteness, which manifests in its appearance, its reactions to stimuli, and its giant button face that's so cute you just want to eat it all up, is supposed to be helpful to depressed elderly folk. Read more at FastCoDesign.Masayoshi Kanoh

Carnival Photography

Photographer Pep Ventosa was honored in the Prix de la Photographie - Paris competition for this image of a carnival swing, shot dozens of times and rendered as a composite. [via Gizmodo]Pep Ventosa

Quick Chill

One of our favorite products at the gadget-centric Consumer Electronics Show this past week wasn't a phone, tablet, TV, or camera. It was a fridge. But no ordinary fridge: LG's crazy new top-of-the-line fridge has a blast chiller to cool a can of beer down from room temperature in only five minutes with a mesmerizing rocking motion. Read more here, and check out the rest of our CES coverage here.John Mahoney

Bugster?

Our own Seth Fletcher, who attended the Detroit Auto Show at which this Volkswagen E Bugster concept car was shown, says there's "no reason to believe" VW will ever actually build the all-electric two-seater convertible, but that doesn't mean we don't want one, like, right now. See more from the best of Detroit here.Seth Fletcher

Sit on a Dime

A native of New Guinea, the newly-discovered Paedophryne amauensis frog has been crowned the smallest known vertebrate in the world. It's sitting on a dime there. A dime. Read more about the frog (and listen to its adorable tiny squeaks) here.Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Grundler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC/PLoS ONE

Space Station, Moon

We've never seen an image quite like this: the International Space Station flying in the skies over Houston, in the same shot as the moon. See it bigger here.NASA/Lauren Harnett

A Better Russian Spy

Russian civilian Lana Sator has got to be one of the ballsiest people on the planet. She snuck into the Energomash factories outside of Moscow, in which is built not just high-priority equipment like the Soyuz rocket but also Russian military gear, and just wandered around taking pictures. Apparently it took little more than a couple of hopped fences to get in. Read more here.Lana Sator

Photography Guts

We love taking things apart, or even just seeing things taken apart, and we love seeing how they work. So we're really into the gallery our friends at Popular Photography put together, showing the insides of all kinds of camera gear from the floor of CES this year. Check it out here.Stan Horaczek

Revitalizing Pool

Czech designers/engineers Ondrej Lipensky and Andrea Kubna proposed a pretty amazing idea for the Vltava, the Czech Republic's longest river. The Vltava is highly polluted, but rapidly becoming a valuable area for real estate. This design proposes a giant floating pool structure, equipped with a 9,000-foot pool, saunas, steam rooms, and other water-related niceties. But the structure itself is actually outfitted with membranes to clean the river itself. Read more at Treehugger.Andrea Kubna & Ondrej Lipensky

Milky Way, Enlarged

At the 219th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which also happened this week, some of the world's prettiest space pics were shown off and oohed and aahed over. (We have thoughtfully collected many of them for your enjoyment.) This particular one is a view of a huge swath of the Milky Way, cobbled together from several other images.NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA