In this weekly column, staff writer Andrea Alfano puts together the most striking science images from the past week's news for your viewing pleasure.

The first science image of the week actually isn't exactly from this week. It's from this week 32 years ago, the week that Sally Ride became the first American woman to be launched into space.

The photo on the left shows that space shuttle Challenger blasting through fluffy cumulus clouds on June 18, 1983. According to NASA, Ride was tasked with calling out "roll program" seven seconds after launch. She later admitted, "those were the hardest words I ever had to get out of my mouth." Right around that moment, astronaut John W. Young snapped this shot from the Shuttle Training Aircraft, which served to monitor weather at the launch site.

The European Southern Observatory reported this week that it's Very Large Telescope caught sight of a distant galaxy that is by far the brightest observed to date. An artist's impression of the galaxy, named CR7, is shown above. Researchers say that galaxy may harbor examples of the universe's first generation of stars.

Who needs paint when there are all of these colorful microbes everywhere? Scientists grew two different types of bacteria to create this microbial masterpiece, posted this week on microbeworld.org. They're shown growing on "chocolate agar" - which these bacteria love to munch on, but is not as delicious as it may sound for humans. The leaves are made up of Streptococus pneumoniae and the trunk of Candida albicans.


Somehow, a creature that looks like it came directly out of Pac-Man really does exist. This week, Science Friday introduced us to this charming little octopus in a video. Researchers have known about the species for years, but are just now working on settling on a name for it. Stephanie Bush of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is thinking naming it Opisthoteuthis adorabilis, in recognition of its incredible cuteness.


Scientists at the Missouri University of Science and Technology "printed" the school's athletic logos shown in (d) and (e) without using any ink. Instead, they created these extremely bright colors by carving nanoscale holes into the surface of silver. The holes function similarly to the way pigments do in inks. Such pigment-less colors, called structural colors, are common in nature, particularly in butterflies in birds.

This tiny chair is made from wood, but not in the traditional hammer-and-nails way. Researchers at Chalmer's University of Technology in Sweden created a new kind of ink for 3D printing that is made from cellulose fibers, the main component of wood.


For the first time, researchers captured the death of a human white blood cell using time-lapse images from a microscope. Those beaded strands hanging out of the cell are molecules with important functions in the body's immune system. The researchers suspect that the cells' ejection of these materials plays a role in defending our bodies from invaders.

This radar image comes to us from the international Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring Saturn and its moons since 2004. The dark spots are lakes on Titan, one of Saturn's many moons. The lakes are filled not with water, but with liquid methane.

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