Best Science Photos 2020

(ORDO NEWS) — 2020 is rich in scientific discoveries. And since there are discoveries, there are photographs. Every year, the editors of such respected magazines as Nature and National Geographic choose the best scientific photographs of the past years and 2020, despite numerous difficulties, is no exception.

The pandemic of the new coronavirus has certainly become a serious problem for photographers, disrupting travel and generally making the usual work more dangerous. But despite COVID-19, the work of a huge number of brave and talented people allows us to enjoy photographs of asteroids, animals, embryos and even genetically modified squid!

Moreover, 2020 reminded us that science is not just a collection of intriguing facts or mind-blowing technologies: it is a way of understanding the world around us, in which we are influenced by both achievements and mistakes. We invite our readers, together with the editors of Hi-News.ru, to enjoy the best scientific photographs of this historic year. Go!

A robotic arm in the robotics and biology laboratory of the Berlin Technical University uses pneumatic fingers to lift a flower with human dexterity. Robots have never been so human-like.

Clown fish embryo

Clown fish embryo
A photograph of the embryonic development of a clownfish embryo took second place in the 46th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.

Photographer Daniel Knop has put together five images of a clownfish embryo to illustrate the stages of development – from a few hours after fertilization to a few hours before hatching. The picture clearly shows how the Amphiprion percula embryo grows inside its egg. These amazingly detailed photographs were taken on the first, third, fifth and ninth days of its development. We believe that the image deservedly took second place in the 46th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.


Red glow

Red glow
Fires in the state of Oregon in the past year have become the largest in recent history.

In the photo in front of you, a team of firefighters is looking for people in burnt houses in September of the outgoing year. A search and rescue team, surrounded by red fire retardant, searches for victims under burnt houses and cars after a fire on Almeda Street, Oregon, USA. Photo by Adrees Latif, Reuters.

2020 will definitely go down in history not only as the year that broke all imaginable and unimaginable temperature records, but also as a period of history, during which the planet was engulfed in previously unreleased fires. For example, this fall, the US state of Oregon experienced the most intense fire season in recent history. The flames raged across the state, killing 11 people and destroying at least 4,500 buildings.

The state, like others in the American West, has experienced a longer and more severe fire season in recent years as climate change-related droughts and heat have made the landscape more prone to burning. Note that forest fires also raged in Siberia and the forests of the Amazon – the “lungs of the planet”. Read more about the damage caused by these natural disasters in our material.


Consequences of COVID-19

Consequences of COVID 19
The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is not limited to humans. They are much more extensive and serious than it might seem. Photo by Mohd Rasfan, AFP.

In the captured image, macaques play with a face shield left by passers-by in Genting Sempah, Malaysia on October 30, 2020.

Face shields have become part of the daily life of many people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. However, environmentalists fear that these disposable items are highly polluting. So, debris was found even in the Mariana Trench – the deepest place on the planet.


What does the surface of an asteroid look like?

What does the surface of an asteroid look like
The mysterious asteroid Bennu, as astronomers found out, fell into near-Earth space almost two million years ago.

The OSIRIS-REx interplanetary station was launched in September 2016; it entered Bennu orbit at the end of December 2018. The main goal of the mission is to study an asteroid – a small celestial body from the Apollo group, discovered in 2013.

Thanks to the data obtained, in the outgoing year, the researchers determined that the mysterious asteroid entered the near-earth space 1.75 million years ago, as described in an article published in Nature. In the picture in front of you, you can clearly see how the spacecraft scoops up some material on October 20 and flies away after a few seconds with rocks and dust, the age of which dates back to the birth of the solar system.


Invisible ink

Invisible ink
Here is a brood of colorless squid, photo by Karen Crawford. For the first time in history, geneticists managed to make squid transparent and even edit their genome.

In July, researchers at the University of Chicago Marine Biological Laboratory reported that they had managed to do something incredible – to edit the genome of the cephalopod mollusks Doryteuthis pealeii. In the course of the study, the CRISPR technique was applied, as a result of which the scientists were able to block one gene responsible for the pigmentation of animals.

The successful results of the work also showed that genetically modified individuals lost up to 90% of the pigment on the skin cells.

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