Watermelon Snow, A DIY Phantom Limb, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week

Plus a look inside the capsule that could take us to Mars

algae covering snow

Watermelon Snow

The effects of climate change are already giving glaciers a rough time, but another factor might also be causing some trouble--algae. The presence of algae on Arctic ice not only gives glaciers a characteristic watermelon slush appearance, but it also reduces the reflectivity of the snow. This causes less sunlight to bounce off the snow making the snow heat and melt faster. Scientists are planning to study the algae's effects more closely in the near future.Liane G. Benning/GFZ
Pluto's Underground Ocean

Pluto's Underground Ocean

In a paper out this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists described some unusual features on Pluto that might point to a hidden underground ocean. The scientists noticed that some pictures of Pluto showed certain geographical features that occur only when the surface of the planet expands as a result of water expanding when it turns into ice. But if the water were to have completely frozen, then they would have also seen signs that the surface had contracted, which they didn't--making the scientists think that Pluto might have an unfrozen ocean under its surface.NASA
Mars orion capsule

The Capsule That Will Take Us To Mars

With the $18 billion Orion program, NASA scientists are working hard to create a capsule and rocket that could one day carry humans to Mars. NASA offered Popular Science an exclusive first look inside its facilities to see the progress thus far. In the above image, engineers check the Orion capsule's structural integrity by blasting it with high decibels of noise while inside an acoustic chamber. Check out the rest of our tour here.Spencer Lowell
blue origin

Live From West Texas, The Blue Origin Rocket Took Off

For the first time, private space company Blue Origin, owned and funded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, broadcast its launch using a live webcast. Its reusable rocket, the New Shepard, successfully took off on Sunday for the fourth time, allowing viewers from around the world to watch. Both the capsule and rocket landed successfully. Importantly, the capsule landed safely despite the fact that the crew intentionally caused a parachute to fail, to see how that would affect the landing. Read and watch more here.Blue Origin
Laser-Lit, Do-It-Yourself Phantom Limb

A Laser-Lit, Do-It-Yourself Phantom Limb

James Young is determined to create the ultimate phantom limb. After losing his arm and leg in an accident four years ago, the now 26-year-old created a decked-out limb that is Bluetooth-enabled, can fly a drone, and has a torch. He talked to Popular Science about how his experiences turned him into a maker.Courtesy of James Young
Art, By Artificial Intelligence

Art, By Artificial Intelligence

What defines an artist? Joel Lehman, a researcher at the IT University of Copenhagen, wanted to know if he could combine the power of deep neural networks (DNN) and and an evolutionary algorithm (a mechanism that mimics natural selection) to design an A.I. that could sculpt. Above is a 3D model and a real-world 3D print of the A.I.'s mushroom sculpture. Lehman is most fascinated by the A.I.'s evolutionary process: being able to learn from its mistakes and improve.Courtesy of Joel Lehman
Flying On Sunshine

Flying On Sunshine

This week, the Solar Impulse 2 became the first plane, powered only by the sun, to cross the Atlantic. The flight time was 71 hours and 8 minutes. The flight showed that solar power and other zero-emission technologies can be a sufficient alternative to fossil fuels.Solar Impulse
Black Hole

A Black Hole Shredding A Star

Black holes are still largely a mystery, but researchers were able to use a unique method to study them. By analyzing x-ray flares that bounce off the inside of a black hole, scientists were better able to understand what's going on inside of it as it's shredding a star. Read more about that process here.NASA
SpotMini Dancing

SpotMini, The Friendly Dog-bot

Boston Dynamics, the robotic company that used to be owned by Google, came out with its latest bot: an adorable multifunctional robot that can climb stairs, provide beverages, and even do your dishes. If knocked down, it can also pick itself back up using a mechanical arm on its back. Check it out here.Screenshot from YouTube
Drone Delivers Package To Shore

Drone Delivers Package From Ship To Shore

In a first, a drone successfully took medical supplies from land, flew to a ship to drop off its precious, potentially life-saving cargo, and flew back to shore. The company behind this mission, Flirtey, wants this service to become a regular thing, to improve medical help for coastal disasters.Flirtey, used with permission