Painless rats

Photographer Lorna Ellen Faulkes captured this amazing picture of a mole-rat colony. Her father Chris Faulkes is a mole-rat researcher at Queen Mary University of London, and one of the scientists behind a paper1 published earlier this month exploring why these strange animals are impervious to certain types of pain. Credit: Lorna Ellen Faulkes

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Maud  returns

The ship Maud was built for the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, who said she was “made for the ice”. After various expeditions that saw Maud being repeatedly trapped in polar ice, the ship eventually sank over the winter of 1930–31. Now she has been refloated and rescued by the Maud Returns Home project, which aims to take her back to Norway. Credit: Jan Wanggaard/Maud Returns Home

Small world

Fire station aflame

Fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California burned through hundreds of hectares at the end of September, and threatened structures including this one: the Casa Loma fire station. Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Fog roll

It wasn’t all heat in California though, ahead of Halloween this spooky, long-exposure photograph from Lorenzo Montezemolo captured fog in the San Francisco Bay area. Credit: Lorenzo Montezemolo/

Southern gleaming

Carbon credits

This image comes from Charles Lindsay’s book Carbon (Minor Matters, 2016), which looks at this familiar element in unfamiliar ways. Lindsay is coy about exactly how he creates his “cameraless” images of carbon in its many forms, although he has said that this image was made using a carbon-based emulsion applied to a transparent base. Credit: Charles Lindsay

Mars maven

These four photos of Mars show clouds forming over about seven hours. They reveal how clouds topping four volcanoes on the red planet — the circular patches in these images — grow during the day. The image uses ultraviolet light data (false-coloured here) captured by NASA’s MAVEN mission, and was part of a presentation at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Pasadena, California, earlier this month. Credit: NASA/MAVEN/University of Colorado