Spacecraft going up and coming down, art in agar, turtles being tracked. All this and more in the return of Nature’s Images of the Month picture gallery.

Peake performance


Although it was taken and put on the Internet last year by photographer Tim Samuel, it wasn’t until this month that this bizarre picture of a fish inside a jellyfish went viral. Credit: Tim Samuel

BEAM is up

BEAM — the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module — is an inflatable room attached to the International Space Station. It was connected up shortly after its launch in April and inflation in May, but astronauts were not permitted to enter the module until this month. Credit: NASA

Antarctic rescue

The US National Science Foundation is undertaking a rare and risky mission to bring home an ill member of staff from the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. A Twin Otter aeroplane flew more than 2,400 kilometres through the continuous Antarctic night to reach the base. It is shown here just before it headed back. Credit: Robert Schwarz/National Science Foundation

Turtle trackers

Researchers and conservationists have tagged ten hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Solomon Islands to see how well the borders of the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area match where the animals actually swim. These pictures were released to coincide with World Sea Turtle Day on 16 June. Credit: Tim Calver

Tibetan Sentinel

This image of the Tibetan Plateau was shot by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2A satellite in February, and released earlier this month. Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016)/ processed by ESA

Shark-nappers busted

At the end of May, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that the Indonesian government had freed two whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) that were being illegally held in pens in eastern Indonesia. The WCS says that the animals — which could grow to become the largest fish in the sea — were captured by a sophisticated operation that seems to have caught whale sharks, manta rays and cetaceans for sale to aquariums in Asia. Credit: Paul Hilton for WCS

Agar art

The winning entry in the Agar Art 2016 competition uses various types of Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium glutamicum bacteria in a Petri dish to portray the fertilization of an egg. Entitled ‘The First Race’, the plate was created by Zohorul Islam, a graduate student at the University of Copenhagen, and was on display at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, this month. Credit: Zohorul Islam

Heavy load

We end where we started — with a spacecraft. This is the Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a top-secret and presumably very heavy payload into space for the US government on 11 June. Credit: United Launch Alliance