Amazon fires to black holes: 50 stunning science images from 2019
Scientific breakthroughs work slowly, revealing themselves only after years of setbacks and small victories.
In the life sciences, researchers are making rapid progress in treating deadly diseases like cancer and improving gene-editing technologies. Cloning technology is also becoming more sophisticated, which allows scientists to create genetically identical research animals or allow companies to clone pets.
In space, scientists are using telescopes and computers to see objects light-years away. This year showed that even black holes are within the reach of imaging software. And space agencies are also trying to bring people and equipment to some of these distant places. NASA has been testing and developing technologies for space exploration on the moon and mars.
Through each milestone, cameras, satellites, and telescopes manage to capture moments big and small, from iterative successes to watershed moments. Climate change has lent itself to a myriad of stunning, if often dystopian, images. Photographs show Midwestern towns submerged underwater after spring floods and Venice flooded to several feet above sea level. Destructive wildfires burned lands in California and the Amazon, and drought has scorched Botswana and southwestern Australia. 2019 provided more visual reminders of what a future on a warmer planet will look like.
Stacker compiled a collection of 50 incredible images showcasing groundbreaking science-related milestones and events that took place in 2019. This year, historic images included animal clones, byproducts of climate change from floods to wildfires, and the first image of a black hole.
Read on to see how science-related discoveries and events shaped the year.
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First monkeys cloned from a genetically modified animal
On Jan. 24, 2019, Chinese scientists revealed that they had cloned five macaque monkeys for research on sleep disorders. The scientists engineered the original monkey, from which they had cloned the others, to disable a gene necessary for sleep-wake cycles. This marked the first time researchers cloned a genetically edited monkey and the beginning of their plans to create genetically identical primates for research.
Chinese spacecraft lands on the moon's far side
On Jan. 3, 2019, China's National Space Administration landed a spacecraft and rover on the far side of the moon, the first country to do so. The far side of the moon can't be seen from Earth, and China's probe has taken the first close-up images of the far lunar surface.
Bucket wheel excavator mines lignite in Germany
Germany intends to go carbon-neutral by 2050. This pictured bucket wheel excavator operates in the Welzow-Sued coal mine in northeastern Germany, where discussions about shuttering coal mines to meet the 2050 goal are dividing residents.
Experiments show that plants have proprioception
Scientists from the French National Institute of Agricultural Research announced in February that plants can sense and respond to their position. In animals, this is called proprioception. Even when a pot hangs horizontally, and the plant is surrounded by light on all sides, it will still grow upright.
50,000 gray cranes make a migration stop in Israel's Hula Valley
Created in the 1990s after the government re-flooded drained swampland, the Agamon Hula Lake now serves as a migration stopover for gray cranes. Gray cranes migrate from Europe to Africa each year, but more are now opting to winter at Agamon Hula Lake.
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Preparing blood bags for CAR T-cell therapy
CAR T-cell therapy, or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, fights some blood cancers by genetically programming the T-cells in a patient’s blood to recognize the patient’s cancer cells. In this photograph, a lab tech prepares blood for the genetic modification process. The first effective CAR T-cells were developed in the lab in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the FDA approved the treatment, the first gene therapy approved to treat any illness. Now, scientists are seeing if they can expand CAR T-cell therapy to treat other cancers.
Pier at the former Aculeo Lake
Boats used to dock at this pier in Aculeo Lake, Chile; just a few years ago, the lake covered an area of over five square miles with water 20-feet deep. But because of a 10-year drought, increased water consumption, and irrigation, this lake has dried up. Scientists estimate that since 2010, the drought, which is in part because of climate change, has caused about half of the lake's water loss.
Wheke, the giant squid
Paris' National Museum of Natural History hosted a taxidermy workshop in March, featuring a restored giant squid. The squid was fished from New Zealand seas in 2000, then gifted to France and "plastinated," a process involving replacing the squid's fluids with polymers for preservation. Museum taxidermists improved on the original job to prepare the squid for exhibition in the museum.
SpaceX tests a spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts
On March 2, 2019, the privately owned SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station. The mission, called Demo-1, served as a test to prepare for launches with NASA astronauts. Since March, SpaceX has also launched networked satellites and previous launches have delivered supplies to the ISS.
Agronomist Wael Musalam in his azolla plant aquarium
Israel’s restriction on imports, economic conditions, and an Israeli naval blockade in the Gaza Strip have forced fishermen to adjust, developing fish farms instead of fishing. But because of import restrictions, fish feed prices have soared. This year, farmer and agronomist Wael Musalam started growing the azolla plant, an aquatic fern, to produce nutritious feed for fish farmers. The plant is commonly found in Latin America, and Musalam thought its qualities as a water-surface-growing, cost-cutting, environmentally friendly food source could help Palestinian farmers—so far, it has.2018 All rights reserved.