Have you ever done something and then instantly regretted it? That is probably what happened in Turkmenistan in 1971, when engineers looking for oil decided to set fire to a gas pocket. They thought that the fire would burn out after a few weeks. Now, over 50 years later, efforts are being made to finally extinguish the fire.
Spring is a time for new life, and in the case of science, new product launches and new technology, and we have plenty of that on offer.
So, while it’s not quite time to break out the flip-flops, why not take a look through our gallery of the best images in science for April.
Closing the gate to hell
A view of the Darvaza gas crater also known as the Gate to Hell, which has been burning for almost half of a century, is seen on 2 April 2022. Steps are finally being taken to close the crater due to negative effects on human health and environmental damage. The crater is located in Darvaza, in the middle of Karakum Desert, 270 kilometers from Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat. The crater was first formed in 1971 during a Soviet gas drilling expedition. Photo by Merdan Velhanov/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images free home delivery
A delivery man wearing personal protective equipment prepares to deliver food bought online for residents who were restricted due to a recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Ningbo in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on 2 April 2022. Photo by AFP/STR/Getty Images Ta-Da!
Ai-Da, an ultra-realistic robot paints an image during a photocall in central London, on 4 April 2022. Ai-Da is the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, and is named after Ada Lovelace – regarded to be the first computer programmer. As a machine with artificial intelligence capabilities, her artist persona de ella is part of the artwork, along with her drawings, performance art and collaborative paintings. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images A touch of frost
An aerial view taken near Vernou-sur-Brenne, central France, on 4 April 2022 shows the fires set in the Vouvray vineyards to protect them from the frost. Photo by Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images Downing tools
Cars are seen on the assembly line during a tour of the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility ahead of the ‘Cyber Rodeo’ grand opening party on 7 April 2022 in Austin, Texas, USA. Photo by Suzanna Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images here be dragon
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is shown as it launched on Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) to the International Space Station, on 8 April 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The Ax-1 mission is the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Photo by NASA/Joel Kowsky turkish floods
An aerial view of wild horses running through the flooded forests on the shore of the Marmara Sea in the Karacabey district of Bursa, Turkey, on 9 April 2022. Photo by Ugur Ulu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Eye see trees of green
This image, released on 13 April 2022, shows the largest antenna ever tested in ESA’s Hertz radio frequency test chamber. This transponder antenna will operate on the ground in Australia, and will communicate with the Biomass satellite mission to chart the health of all the forests on Earth. Part of ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands, the metal-walled ‘Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone’ chamber is shut off from all external influences. Its internal walls are studded with radio-absorbing ‘anechoic’ foam pyramids, allowing radio-frequency testing without any distorting reflections. Photo by ESA/SJM Photography It’s in here somewhere
Aerial view of shipping containers sitting stacked at Asia’s first fully automated container terminal of Qingdao Port on 13 April 2022 in Qingdao, in the Shandong Province of China. Photo by Zhang Jingang/VCG/Getty Images thermal power
Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. Their new demonstrations show that it converts heat to electricity with over 40 per cent efficiency — a performance better than that of traditional steam turbines. In this image, released on 13 April 2022, a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell is seen mounted on a heat sink. Photo by Felice Frankel crash-landing
This image of Perseverance’s protective shell sitting upright on the surface of Jezero Crater, on the planet Mars, was collected from an altitude of 8 meters by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 26th flight at Mars on 19 April 2022. Engineers working on the Mars Sample Return program obtained images from an aerial perspective so that they could study the components’ performance during the rover’s entry, descent, and landing. Photo by NASA/JPL Digital Earth
A general model shows ‘Geo-Cosmos’, the world’s first spherical display made using organic electroluminescent panels showing a high-resolution model of the Earth. The model has been updated with 10,362 new LED panels, and is shown during a media preview at Miraikanon, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo, Japan, on 19 April 2022. Photo by Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Check out more galleries on ScienceFocus: Tight-knit group
In this image, released on 19 April 2022, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope celebrated its 32nd birthday with this stunning look at an unusual close-knit collection of five galaxies, called the Hickson Compact Group 40. This snapshot reflects a special moment in their lifetimes as they fall together before they merge. Photo by NASA/ESA Head for heights
Hazel Kaya, an adrenaline junkie, is shown on top of a wind turbine in Izmir, Turkey, on 20 April 2022. Despite her phobia of heights, Kaya manages to do her job, which requires her to work on high structures such as wind turbines and skyscrapers. Photo by Orhan Fatih Dogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Cell-ebration
In this image, released on the 21 April 2022, a new type of highly efficient solar cell is demonstrated. In collaboration with Prof Nicholas Long from Imperial College London, Dr Zhu Zonglong’s team, from City University Hong Kong, have developed a cell using Perovskite instead of the traditional silicon cells. Perovskite solar cells are expected to cost less, have a low-manufacturing temperature, and are lightweight and flexible. Photo by City University of Hong Kong IT is the place to be
A visitor walks through the KT Corporation booth at the World IT Show 2022 in Seoul, South Korea, on 21 April 2022. Photo by SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg/Getty Images Forming an orderly queue
A person takes photos of pine processionary larvae marching in characteristic fashion in Turkey’s Antalya province on 21 April 2022. Pine processionary larvae crawl down from trees between the months of February and May in their journey to becoming moths. Photo by Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images earth-day
A young Buddhist monk arranges an LED light as part of Earth Day at the Wat Dhammakaya Buddhist temple in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok, on 22 April 2022. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images Ol’ blue eyes
A Bali starling ( Leucopsar rothschildi) is pictured after being released at a conservation site in Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia on 24 April 2022. The Bali starling is an endangered and protected bird species, which is now being bred by several conservation societies in order to preserve its population in the wild . Photo by Johannes P Christo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images cloudburst
The Sun sets on the backdrop as Mount Anak Krakatau (right) spews thick smoke, as seen from Pasauran beach, Anyer, Indonesia, on 24 April 2022. Photo by Dziki Oktomauliyadi/AFP/Getty Images Nice to iMeet you
An IIT engineer shakes hand with the iCub robot on the car parking rooftop at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa, Italy, on 27 April 2022. A new system was tested in an online demonstration involving a human operator based in IIT, Genoa, and a new version of the humanoid robot iCub, the iCub 3, visiting the Italian Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. The two sites are 300km apart, and the communication relied on basic optical fiber connection. Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images LA Lost Anglerfish
This fossil of an anglerfish was unearthed during the construction of the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station, and is shown on display at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, USA, on 28 April 2022. The exhibit is part of a new show called ‘LA Underwater: The Prehistoric Sea Beneath Us’, which features creatures that once swam through what is now Los Angeles. Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images