Finding NASA’s Curiosity rover, art-attacking microbes, and other amazing images of the week

Newsworthy eye candy

The Australian abyssal zone is full of mysterious creatures from penis-like to Game of Thrones-esque. To protect themselves from the intense pressure of deep sea living, these creatures use a variety of protective mechanisms from hard shells to slimy and gelatinous skin like this slipper sea cucumber. Here’s our roundup of this area of the deep sea’s strangest looking beings.

Stains caused by fungal spores on Angel and Three Marys, a drawing by Louis Comfort Tiffany (the designer best known for his work in stained glass), before it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Di Bonaventura et al. / The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cultural relics like this painting, and even stone statues, are under attack not just from the typical elements like light and water, but also from microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and algae. This can be fought by keeping the artifacts in a cool, dry condition, but that isn’t ideal for showing them off. Researchers at the University of Palermo in Italy are proposing ideas like testing garlic, mint, and tea tree oils on works of art that are open to the public. If it works, perhaps they’ll be known for their beauty, and their stench.

kepler planet
NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has identified 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and in the habitable zone of their star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Earlier this week, NASA’s Kepler released a mission catalog including 219 new planetary candidates, 10 of which are Earth-size and the right distance from their host star to hold liquid water. This brings the total number of planetary candidates to 4,034, 30 of which have been confirmed to be Earth-size and in their star’s habitable zone.

Find NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on top of Mount Sharp (Hint: It’s the tiny blue dot) NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Size is relative, especially in space. (NASA’s Curiosity rover)[] is about the size of a car, but from the view of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) 200 miles up, it’s just a tiny speck. August will mark her fifth year roaming around Mars, searching for signs of ancient microbial life.

James Webb Space Telescope
The most powerful space telescope ever built tests out it’s winter coat NASA/Desiree Stover

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and is spending it’s summer undergoing tests at sub-freezing cryogenic temperatures. A giant thermal vacuum chamber located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center will be preparing the telescope for the brutal 50 K (-223° C or -370° F) temperatures it’ll face in space.

Sara Kiley Watson

Sara Kiley WatsonSara Kiley Watson is an assistant editor at PopSci. Her work has also been featured in NPR and Business Insider. Contact the author here.