MX3D 3D printed bridge in the red light district of Amsterdam. ARUP engineering.

Pizza robots and a 3D-printed bridge: 23 astounding images in science July 2021

Devastating floods in Europe, wildfires in the US, and a battle between two billionaires' private spaceflight companies.

It’s been a super-busy month if you like to follow the exploits of the billions of private space companies all competing in a very niche space-race.

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At the age of 82, ex-NASA pilot Wally Funk finally managed to reach space thanks to an invitation by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his team at Blue Origin. Meanwhile, businessman Sir Richard Branson was already celebrating his successful flight in his Virgin Galactic craft a few days prior.

In China and parts of Northern Europe, a series of devastating floods have caused chaos and loss of life in a number of countries, and wildfires and drought continue to affect the United States.

So join us as we tell the story of July in science images.

We have lift-off

AMUR REGION, RUSSIA - JULY 1, 2021: A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a Fregat upper stage and 36 OneWeb internet communication satellites blasts off from Vostochny Cosmodrome. Roscosmos Press Office/TASS (Photo by Roscosmos Press OfficeTASS via Getty Images)
A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a Fregat upper stage and 36 OneWeb internet communication satellites blasts off from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Amur Region, Russia, on 1 July 2021. Photo by Roscosmos Press Office/TASS/Getty Images

Pazzi pizza please

This photograph taken on July 1, 2021, shows
This photograph taken on 1 July 2021, shows “Pazzi”, a pizza-making robot at work in a restaurant in Paris, France. Photo by Bertand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Wild fires burn out of control

CALIFORNIA, USA - JULY 4: Burning areas of the southeastern flank of the Tennant Fire in California, United States on July 4, 2021. Fire has been burning since June 24, 2021 and has burned 24,752 acres and is 39% contained as of July 4, 2021. (Photo by Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Burning areas of the southeastern flank of the Tennant Fire in California, United States, on 4 July 2021. The fire began burning on 24 June 2021 and spread across 24,752 acres by the time this photo was taken. Photo by Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In the pink

URMIA, IRAN - JULY 06: People enjoy at the Lake Urmia, one of the biggest saltwater lakes in the world located in the northwest of Iran, as it once again face a threat of drying up due to drought which affects the whole country in Urmia, Iran on July 06, 2021. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A woman photographed standing on the edge of Lake Urmia, on the 6 July 2021. The lake, one of the biggest saltwater lakes in the world, is located in the northwest of Iran. It is facing threats of drying up due to drought which has been affecting the whole country. Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Somewhere over the rainbows

WUZHOU, CHINA - JULY 07: A rainbow appears in the sky over Cangwu county on July 7, 2021 in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. Slight Heat, the 11th solar term in the Chinese lunar calendar, falls on July 7 this year. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A double rainbow appears in the sky over Cangwu County on 7 July 2021 in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. Slight Heat, the 11th solar term in the Chinese lunar calendar, fell on 7 July this year. Photo by VCG/Getty Image

Bundle of joy

A hedgehog is seen as Suer family looks after the 7 hedgehogs they adopted after their mother died in Cinar district of Diyarbakir, Turkey on July 07, 2021. (Photo by Bestami Bodruk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A young hedgehog is cared for by the Suer family, one of seven hedgehogs they found in their garden. Father Kasim Suer, a stable-hand at a horse racing track, found the hedgehogs and decided to adopt them all after discovering that their mother had been killed on a nearby road. Photographed in the Cinar district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, on 7 July 2021. Photo by Bestami Bodruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Well hello there!

LUBLIN, POLAND - JULY 07 : A woman waves to a real-time video portal connecting Lublin and Vilnius at the Lithuanian square on July 07, 2021 in Lublin, Poland. The virtual bridge allows people from the Lithuanian capital to interact with passersby at the âother end❠of the portal, in Lublin located more than 550 km away.In the future, there are plans to also build portals connecting Vilnius to Reykjavik and London. (Photo by Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A woman waves to a real-time video portal connecting the cities of Lublin and Vilnius at the Lithuanian square on 7 July 2021 in Lublin, Poland. The virtual bridge, brainchild of Benediktas Gylys, President of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation, allows people from the Lithuanian capital to interact with passersby at the other end of the portal, located more than 550 km away. In the future, there are plans to also build portals connecting Vilnius to Reykjavik, Icland and London, UK. Photo by Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Who’s a pretty kingfisher?

MUMBAI, INDIA - JULY 7: Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher perched on a tree branch with a kill in its mouth to feed the new-born babies near Panvel on July 7, 2021 in Mumbai, India. ODKF are the most colorful birds found in India and they are endemic to the Western ghats. Earlier, one had to travel to the Konkan region to see these beauties, but now they fly beyond Konkan region come very close to Mumbai. They migrate from Sri Lanka during their breeding period in the month of June, during which they visit Konkan region of Southwest India. Also now one can spot them during breeding period near Mumbai. June to September is their breeding period. There is a need for conservation of these birds as their population is decreasing day-by-day. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
An oriental dwarf kingfisher perched on a tree branch with a kill in its mouth to feed the new-born babies, taken on 7 July 2021 in Mumbai, India. These birds are the most colourful birds found in India and are endemic to the western ghats. Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Salt of the Earth

LEQING, CHINA - JULY 08: Aerial view of evaporation ponds at a salt factory on July 8, 2021 in Leqing, Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province of China. (Photo by Cai Kuanyuan/VCG via Getty Images)
An aerial view of evaporation ponds at a salt factory on 8 July 2021 in Leqing, Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province of China. Photo by Cai Kuanyuan/VCG/Getty Images

Dragon departure

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The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship is shown here as it departed the International Space Station, after undocking from the International Space Station on 8 July 2021. The central portion of the orbiting lab’s truss structure and a pair of antennas dominate the right foreground. Photo by NASA/ESA

Release the drones

SAMSUN, TURKEY - JULY 10: Multiple flight spraying trials with agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (ZIHA) are carried out by TARNET, an affiliate of the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives in Samsun, Turkey on July 10, 2021. (Photo by Ilyas Gun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Multiple flight spraying trials with agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (ZIHA) are carried out by TARNET, an affiliate of the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives in Samsun, Turkey, on 10 July 2021. Photo by Ilyas Gun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Deeper and down

A diver experiences Deep Dive Dubai, the deepest swimming pool in the world reaching 60m, in the United Arab Emirates, on July 10, 2021. - The city of superlatives, with the world's tallest tower among its many records, Dubai now has the deepest swimming pool on the planet complete with a
A diver experiences Deep Dive Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on 10 July 2021. Reaching down 60m, it’s the deepest manmade pool in the world, and even features a “sunken city” for divers to explore. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

One small step for Richard

NEW MEXICO, USA - JULY 11: Sir Richard Branson flew into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the
A Virgin Galactic vessel named Unity, carrying its creator Sir Richard Branson, is pictured above the Earth on 11 July 2021 as it rose to a height of 85km. Sir Richard later described the flight as the “experience of a lifetime” after safety landing back at Spaceport America in New Mexico, United States. Photo by Virgin Galactic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

See some more of our great image sets here:

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One we made earlier

15th July 2021 Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, Máxima is seen opening the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge in the city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on the 15 July 2021. The futuristic multi award-winning bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab, has been placed over one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam. MX3D, a company based in the Netherlands, kicked off this project in 2015 when it proposed producing a metal bridge with its state-of-the-art robotic 3D printing technology. Photo by Adriaan deGroot

Flash floods

RHINELAND PALATINATE, GERMANY - JULY 16: A view of devastated area after a severe rainstorm and flash floods hit western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, on July 16, 2021, in Ahrweiler and Sinzig districts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The death toll from Germany's worst floods in more than 200 years rose to 103. Search and rescue works continue in the area. (Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A view of devastated area after a severe rainstorm and flash floods hit western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, on 16 July 2021, in Ahrweiler and Sinzig districts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The death toll from Germany’s worst floods in more than 200 years rose to 103, while search and rescue works continued in the area. Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Reaching for the stars

A detailed view of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft shows one of the glass windows with a protective covering outside their Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility in the pre-dawn hours at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, on 17 July 2021, ahead of its scheduled launch on July 30. Photo by Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images
A detailed view of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft shows one of the glass windows with a protective covering outside their Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility in the pre-dawn hours at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, on 17 July 2021, ahead of its scheduled launch on July 30. Photo by Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images

Super-active

Lava flows down Mount Merapi, Indonesias most active volcano, as seen from Sleman in Yogyakarta on July 18, 2021. (Photo by Agung Supriyanto / AFP) (Photo by AGUNG SUPRIYANTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Lava flows down Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, as seen from Sleman in Yogyakarta on 18 July 2021. Photo by Agung Supriyanto/AFP/Getty Images

A dream fulfilled

VAN HORN, TEXAS - JULY 20: Wally Funk receives astronaut wings from Blue Origin’s Jeff Ashby, a former Space Shuttle commander, after her flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space on July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas. Ms. Funk and the crew that flew with her were the first human spaceflight for the company. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Wally Funk receives astronaut wings from Blue Origin’s Jeff Ashby, a former Space Shuttle commander, after her flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space on 20 July 2021 in Van Horn, Texas, USA. Ms. Funk and the crew that flew with her were the first human spaceflight for the company. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Heat haze

TOPSHOT - A rainbow shines behind homes on a hillside during the western drought on July 20, 2021 in St. George, Utah. - An approximately 140-mile water pipeline is proposed to bring additional water from the Colorado River and Lake Powell in Arizona to communities in southern Utah. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
A rainbow shines behind homes on a hillside during the western drought on 20 July 2021 in St. George, Utah, USA. An approximately 140-mile water pipeline is proposed to bring additional water from the Colorado River and Lake Powell in Arizona to communities in southern Utah. Photo by Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Ancient solar observatory

Aerial view of the Chankillo Solar Observatory near Casma, Peru, on July 22, 2021. - Chankillo, the oldest solar observatory in America from between 500 and 200 BC, is a stone complex that includes a temple, plaza and 13 towers lined from north to south along the crest of a hill. Dedicated to the cult of the Sun, it served to indicate with great accuracy the solstices, equinoxes and a series of dates throughout the year, based on the solar position. (Photo by Janine Costa / AFP) (Photo by JANINE COSTA/AFP via Getty Images)
Aerial view of the Chankillo Solar Observatory near Casma, Peru, on 22 July 2021. Chankillo, the oldest solar observatory in America from between 500 and 200 BC, is a stone complex that includes a temple, plaza and 13 towers lined from north to south along the crest of a hill. Dedicated to the cult of the Sun, it served to indicate with great accuracy the solstices, equinoxes and a series of dates throughout the year, based on the solar position. Photo by Janine Costa/AFP/Getty Images

Cue the robot

A basketball-playing robot named CUE plays basketball during half-time of the Men's Preliminary Round Group B game between the United States and France on July 25, 2021, during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena. - Toyota has created a 6-foot-10-inch basketball-shooting robot named Cue that uses sensors on its torso to judge the distance and angle of the basket and uses motorized arms and knees to execute set shots. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
A basketball-playing robot named CUE plays basketball during half-time of the Men’s Preliminary Round Group B game between the United States and France on 25 July 2021, during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena. Toyota has created a 6-foot-10-inch basketball-shooting robot named Cue that uses sensors on its torso to judge the distance and angle of the basket and uses motorised arms and knees to execute set shots. Photo by Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Fire train

A fire train sprays water along railroad tracks during the Dixie fire in unincorporated Plumas County on July 26, 2021. - The Dixie fire has now burned more than 190,000 acres and continues to edge closer to more residential communities. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
A fire train sprays water along railroad tracks during the Dixie fire in unincorporated Plumas County, USA, on 26 July 2021. The Dixie fire had burnt more than 190,000 acres and continued to edge closer to more residential communities. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Car graveyard

An aerial view of a graveyard of mostly unused new energy vehicles in Hangzhou city in east China's Zhejiang province Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Several such graveyards have been reported recently, probably due to the hefty governmental subsidies on new energy cars in the past. (Photo credit should read Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
An aerial view of a graveyard of mostly unused plug-in electric vehicles in Hangzhou city in east China’s Zhejiang province, Wednesday 28 July 2021. Several such graveyards have been reported recently, probably due to the hefty governmental subsidies on plug-in cars in the past. Photo by Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty Images