YANCHENG, CHINA - MAY 9, 2021 - Aerial photo taken on May 9, 2021 shows tidal creeks formed by tidal erosion in Tiaozi mud scenic area in Yancheng, east China's Jiangsu Province. (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Mars bases and robot babies: 23 stunning science photos from May 2021

The best photos in science this month from around the world.

From a huge machine called Florence to beautiful rice terraces at sunset, via a robot football match, we take you on a whirlwind trip around the thing we call the ‘world’ by means of the best images in science this May. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

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Starry starry night

XINJIANG, CHINA - MAY 1, 2021 - Starry skies are seen above a road crossing the hinterland of the Taklamakan Desert in Tarim Basin, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 1, 2021. (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Starry skies are seen above a road crossing the hinterland of the Taklamakan Desert in Tarim Basin, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, 1 May 2021. Photo by Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Fields of gold

YICHANG, CHINA - MAY 2, 2021 - An aerial view of terraces at sunset in Yichang, central China's Hubei province, May 2, 2021. (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
An aerial view of terraces at sunset in Yichang, central China’s Hubei province, 2 May 2021. Photo by Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Going to need a bigger cinema

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock (11886352b) (210502) - SHANGHAI, May 2, 2021 (Xinhua) - People watch a cinefilm on popular science at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in Shanghai, east China, May 2, 2021. During the May Day holiday, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum projects its last two films on popular science for its audience. China Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Cinefilm - 02 May 2021
People watch a cinefilm on popular science at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in Shanghai, east China 2 May 2021. During the May Day holiday, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum projects its last two films on popular science for its audience. Photo by Shutterstock

Man-made mountain

A worker sorts used plastic bottles in a recycling factory in Dhaka on May 5, 2021. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP) (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker sorts used plastic bottles in a recycling factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 5 May 2021. Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Tidal trees

Aerial photo taken on 9 May 2021 shows tidal creeks formed by tidal erosion in Tiaozi mud scenic area in Yancheng, east China's Jiangsu Province. Photo by: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Aerial photo taken on 9 May 2021 shows tidal creeks formed by tidal erosion in Tiaozi mud scenic area in Yancheng, east China’s Jiangsu Province. Photo by Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Florence (and) the Machine

RICKMANSWORTH, ENGLAND - MAY 13: HS2 unveil their new tunnel boring machine, (TBM) on May 13, 2021 in Rickmansworth, England. The 2000 tonne machine named Florence after Florence Nightingale started its 10 mile-long tunnel dig under the Chilterns today, and will be operating 24/7 for the next three years. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
HS2 unveil their new tunnel boring machine, (TBM) on 13 May 2021 in Rickmansworth, England. The 2,000 tonne machine, named Florence after Florence Nightingale started its 10 mile-long tunnel dig under the Chilterns, and will be operating 24/7 for the next three years. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Milk, new pants and a Mars base…

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 15: A simulated Mars base is on display at the SKP-S shopping mall on May 15, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images)
A simulated Mars base is on display at the SKP-S shopping mall on 15 May 2021 in Beijing, China. Photo by Hou Yu/China News Service/Getty Images

I’m forever blowing bubbles

A frog blows air sacs as it swims in the water of a pond in a park in the outskirts of Moscow on May 17, 2021. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
A frog blows air sacs as it swims in a pond located in a park in the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, on 17 May 2021. Photo by Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Red hot Iceland

Lava erupts from the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, May 18, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Lava erupts from the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, 18 May 2021. Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Pleased to meet you

A Canbot U05 service robot serves at the Museum of Chinese Gardens and Landscape Architecture on May 18, 2021 in Beijing, China. International Museum Day is observed annually on May 18. (Photo by He Luqi/Qianlong.com/VCG via Getty Images)
A Canbot U05 service robot serves at the Museum of Chinese Gardens and Landscape Architecture on 18 May 2021 in Beijing, China. International Museum Day is observed annually on 18 May. Photo by He Luqi/Qianlong.com/VCG/Getty Images

If you are enjoying this gallery, why not check out some of our other great galleries:

Greek wildfires

A man stands in front of a wild fire in Skinos, south of Athens, on May 19, 2021. - Scores of Greek villagers were evacuated early on May 20, 2021 as a forest fire raged overnight around the protected wildlife habitat of Mount Geraneia, the fire department said, with no injuries immediately reported. (Photo by VALERIE GACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE GACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
A man stands in front of a wild fire in Skinos, south of Athens, Greece, on 19 May 2021. Scores of Greek villagers were evacuated early on 20 May 2021 as a forest fire raged overnight around the protected wildlife habitat of Mount Geraneia, the fire department said, with no injuries immediately reported. Photo by Valerie Gache/AFP/Getty Images

COVID sniffers

A Labrador Retriever sniffer dog sniffs canisters containing human sweat samples collected from a community to detect COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic infection at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital, at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand, 20 May 2021. Three of six specially trained Labrador Retriever dogs are deployed in the Thai capital to sniff out human sweat collected from residents in the outbreak communities to detect the perspiration scent of COVID-19 coronavirus disease patients as an effort to battle the ongoing rapid spreading of the pandemic in Bangkok. The dogs have been trained to sit down immediately when detecting the perspiration scent of COVID-19 infections with an accuracy rate of nearly 95 percent in detecting both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Trained sniffer dogs deployed to detect COVID-19 infected patients in Bangkok, Thailand - 20 May 2021
A Labrador Retriever sniffer dog sniffs canisters containing human sweat samples collected from a community to detect COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic infection at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital, at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand, 20 May 2021. The dogs have been trained to sit down immediately when detecting the perspiration scent of COVID-19 infections with an accuracy rate of nearly 95 per cent in detecting both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Solar arrays

May 20, 2021. In this view from a window aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, a pair of the International Space Station's main solar arrays drape across the Earth's horizon as the orbital lab soared 271 miles above the south Atlantic in between Argentina and South Africa.
In this view from a window aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour taken on 20 May 2021, a pair of the International Space Station’s main solar arrays drape across the Earth’s horizon as the orbital lab soared 271 miles above the south Atlantic in between Argentina and South Africa. Photo by NASA/Johnson Space Center

I want a rocket to the Moon

NASA conducted its fourth RS-25 single-engine hot fire of the year May 20, a continuation of its seven-part test series to support development and production of engines for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to the Moon. The engine was fired for more than 8 minutes (500 seconds) on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, the same amount of time RS-25 engines need to fire for launch of the SLS rocket. The test series is designed to provide valuable data to Aerojet Rocketdyne, prime contractor for the SLS engines, as it begins production of new engines for use after the first four SLS flights. Photo by NASA
NASA conducted its fourth RS-25 single-engine hot fire of the year on 20 May 2021, a continuation of its seven-part test series to support development and production of engines for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to the Moon. The engine was fired for more than 8 minutes (500 seconds) on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, USA, the same amount of time RS-25 engines need to fire for launch of the SLS rocket. The test series is designed to provide valuable data to Aerojet Rocketdyne, prime contractor for the SLS engines, as it begins production of new engines for use after the first four SLS flights. Photo by NASA

Some people are on the pitch

Robot soccer players compete in a soccer game during the 2021 RoboCup China Open, also the RoboCup Asia-Pacific (RCAP) Tianjin Invitation Tournament, which is a part of the fifth World Intelligence Congress, at Tianjin Konggang Sports Center on May 21, 2021 in Tianjin, China. (Photo by Tong Yu/China News Service via Getty Images)
Robot football players compete in a game during the 2021 RoboCup China Open, also the RoboCup Asia-Pacific (RCAP) Tianjin Invitation Tournament, which is a part of the fifth World Intelligence Congress, at Tianjin Konggang Sports Center on 21 May 2021 in Tianjin, China. Photo by Tong Yu/China News Service/Getty Images

Model Village

Aerial view of the construction site of Huawei data center at Guian New Area on May 21, 2021 in Guiyang, Guizhou Province of China. (Photo by Wu Dongjun/VCG via Getty Images)
Aerial view of the construction site of Huawei data center at Guian New Area on 21 May 2021 in Guiyang, Guizhou Province of China. Photo by Wu Dongjun/VCG/Getty Images

Welcome to the little island

View of 'Little Island', a new, free public park in Hudson River Park on May 21, 2021 in New York City. - On 132 huge concrete tulips installed on pillars on the banks of the Hudson River levitates
132 huge concrete tulips are mounted on pillars on the banks of the Hudson River to form a new floating public park, known as ‘Little Island’. The park was inaugurated on 21 May 2021 in New York, USA, to the delight of the population, after more than one year of COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Robobaby

Visitors look at the robot
Visitors look at the robot “Animatronic baby” at the exhibition “Robots, The 500-Year Quest to Make Machines Human” in the Hong Kong Science Museum, in Hong Kong, China on 22 May 2021. Photo by Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Red sky at night

This general view taken on May 22, 2021 from Tchegera Island outsoide Goma on the lake Kivu in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo shows flame spewing from the Nyiragongo volcano. - The famous Nyiragongo volcano, near the city of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), suddenly became active on Saturday evening, an AFP correspondent noted. Strong emanations of glowing light coming out of the crater were visible from Goma, while a smell of sulfur was perceptible in the city, located on the southern flank of the volcano, on the shores of Lake Kivu, he noted. (Photo by Alex Miles / AFP) (Photo by ALEX MILES/AFP via Getty Images)
This general view taken on 22 May 2021 from Tchegera Island outsoide Goma on the lake Kivu in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo shows flame spewing from the Nyiragongo volcano.  The famous volcano, near the city of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), suddenly became active on Saturday evening, an AFP correspondent noted. Strong emanations of glowing light coming out of the crater were visible from Goma, while a smell of sulfur was perceptible in the city, located on the southern flank of the volcano, on the shores of Lake Kivu. Photo by Alex Miles/AFP/Getty Images

Cicada Sandwich

Fried cicadas are rolled into a sushi roll by Chef Bun Lai at Fort Totten Park in Washington, DC on May 23, 2021. - Chef Bun is a leader in the sustainable food movement, and cooks cicadas to help open the conversation to alternative ways to eat that are less destructive than traditional farming, which he sees as non-sustainable. 'Brood X' cicadas have begun to emerge in the Washington, DC area after 17 years underground. Billions of cicada nymphs that have been living underground since 2004 will burst out of the soil, shed their skin, mate, lay eggs and then die, all against the backdrop of the deafening noise that males make to attract females. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Fried cicadas are rolled into a sushi roll by Chef Bun Lai at Fort Totten Park in Washington DC, USA on 23 May 2021. Chef Bun is a leader in the sustainable food movement, and cooks cicadas to help open the conversation to alternative ways to eat that are less destructive than traditional farming, which he sees as non-sustainable. ‘Brood X’ cicadas have begun to emerge in the Washington, DC area after 17 years underground. Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Check out our gallery of Brood X cicadas here:

A sea of clouds

In this image, the first rays of the morning Sun shine down upon Cerro Paranal in northern Chile, the home of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) — signalling that another successful night of observations has concluded at the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical facility. Rising 2635 metres above sea level, the VLT’s site is amongst the best in the world for gazing deep into the Universe. Giving a sense of the site’s altitude is the apparent “sea” in the background. This is, however, a trick of the eye; the Atacama Desert, where ESO’s VLT is located, is a very dry place. Rather than liquid water, the distant, blue-hued sea is instead composed of clouds that form at lower elevations. Link: Panoramic image of the VLT
In this image, released on the 24 May 2021, the first rays of the morning Sun shine down upon Cerro Paranal in northern Chile, the home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).  Rising 2,635 metres above sea level, the VLT’s site is amongst the best in the world for gazing deep into the Universe. Giving a sense of the site’s altitude is the apparent “sea” in the background. This is, however, a trick of the eye; the Atacama Desert, where ESO’s VLT is located, is a very dry place. Rather than liquid water, the distant, blue-hued sea is instead composed of clouds that form at lower elevations. Photo by Gerhard Hüdepohl/ESO

California drought

In this aerial image, dead trees burned in a wildfire stand as dry land is exposed on the banks of Lake Oroville reservoir due to low water levels during the California drought emergency on May 25, 2021 in Oroville, California. - Summer has not yet begun and the level of Lake Oroville, the second largest dam in California that supplies drinking water to 27 million people, is already half its average level, a symptom of the worsening chronic drought in the region. While water supplies are impacted, the Lake Oroville State Recreation area remains open, with boat launches recently built to accommodate lower water levels due to reduced water inflows from the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada mountain foothills. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
In this aerial image, dead trees burned in a wildfire stand as dry land is exposed on the banks of Lake Oroville reservoir due to low water levels during the California drought emergency on 25 May 2021 in Oroville, California, USA. Summer has not yet begun and the level of Lake Oroville, the second largest dam in California that supplies drinking water to 27 million people, is already half its average level, a symptom of the worsening chronic drought in the region. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing I can say… a total eclipse of the Moon

The lunar eclipse is observed over the White Dagoba at Beihai park on May 26, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
The lunar eclipse is observed over the White Dagoba at Beihai park on 26 May 2021 in Beijing, China. Photo by VCG/Getty Images

Take a look at our superman images from around the world here:

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