A CT scanner uses radiation to produce a three-dimensional image of the insides of the human body. X-rays are fired through the body, and scanners pick up the path of the rays, leading to a detailed image of the body. It can be used to detect and diagnose epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, cancers, heart disease and medical issue.
Is it weird that I’m more familiar with the bottom scanner than with the top? We take these things apart almost on a monthly basis. Pretty fun since they kind of look like mini- particle colliders.
The Gemini astronauts also took some of the most memorable photos in NASA history. You’d think we would have seen them all by now. But with Nasa’s help and funding, a team of researchers at Arizona State University led by lunar scientist Mark Robinson has retrieved from the archives dozens of outtakes that never made it into wide circulation.
Ed note: Check out our friends at Air & Space for more stunning photos from the Gemini mission.
These are an absolute treasure. I don’t know if it was the tight quarters, lack of illumination, or the particular light characteristics of the Hasselblad 70mm cameras used on these missions, but they are equal parts spooky and beautiful. They capture the sort of terrifying, dramatic excitement that I imagine being one of the first men in orbit felt like.
A little extra tidbit about spacewalk photos from this era: Those gas canisters you see in their hands as they exit the spacecraft? Those are called “zip guns”, and they were used to maneuver while outside the capsule. Sort of like when Wall-e rides the fire extinguisher through space.
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How long different animals live, in a vintage infographic by ISOTYPE pioneer Otto Neurath.
Are humans the only ones on this list marching forward?
Martian Mineral Veins
The bright linear features cutting the bedrock in the center region of this image look like mineral veins.
Mineral veins are sheetlike bodies of minerals formed by water that flows through fractures. The setting of this image is the central uplift of a large (approximately 50-kilometer diameter) impact crater, where deep, ancient bedrock was uplifted about 5 kilometers and fractured.
Heat from the impact melted ice in the Martian crust, creating a hydrothermal system. This could have been a habitable environment.
A small mineral vein was recently discovered by the Opportunity rover at Endeavour Crater.
AS&K does some phenomenal science and medical animation. I have no idea what these things are, but I sure want to know. And isn’t that what good illustration does?
These are absolutely stunning! Let’s see if I can decode some of the biology behind the illustrations for you.
Top: This one’s tough. I couldn’t find any specific details, but it looks like a representation of a dying cell to me. When cellular machinery detects a serious problem (infection, out of control growth signals, gene instability, etc.) the apoptosis machinery is activated. Apoptosis (you can either say “ay-pop-toe-sis” or “ay-puh-toe-sis”) comes from the Greek words for “falling away”, alluding to how leaves are programmed to die and fall off of trees every winter. The characteristic blebs of the dying cell can be seen, as the cell disintegrates.
Middle left: Certain kinds of immune cells consume foreign invaders and debris for a living, like the body’s trash collectors. These phagocytes migrate out of the blood stream in response to a sign of infection. Signals from the infected tissue allow the blood vessels to dilate and tiny pores to form, allowing the flexible phagocytes to crawl away to do battle using their long finger-like projections.
Middle right: HIV virus particles are attacking a CD4+ T-cell, the type of immune cell that they infect and the loss of which results in AIDS. The virus has proteins on its surface (the green and red spikes) that help it latch on to specific receptors on the T-cell surface (the mushroom-like basket things).
Bottom: Our cells are covered in hundreds of different receptors, surface markers and scaffold molecules. This is what allows them to take on a specific structure, as well as communicate with each other. Embedded in the plasma membrane (the blue, water-loving heads and green, oily lipids that make up our cell package), these receptors and surface proteins are thought to be organized into lipid rafts in order to keep them nearby other receptors and proteins that they work and communicate with.