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Best science and technology pictures of the week

  • Shower time
    Stargazers float in a hot water spring on the shore of the Dead Sea as they watch the annual Geminid meteor display streak across the sky. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Grand affair
    The 2012 Nobel prize laureates enter the banquet hall in Stockholm after receiving their awards on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Secret mission
    An Atlas V rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral carrying the Air Force’s secret X-37B space plane into orbit for its third classified mission. (Copyright: US Air Force)
  • Bath time
    Japanese macaque, known as “snow monkeys”, take an open-air hot spring bath, or “onsen” at the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, Nagano (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Protective shell
    Farmer Liu Qiyuan and his “Noah’s Arc” survival pods in Qiantun, south of Beijing. Liu hopes his pods will be used in tsunamis or earthquakes. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • One lump or two?
    Elephant dung coffee, made from beans eaten and digested by elephants living on a reserve in Northern Thailand, is the most expensive in the world. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Mass influx
    A volunteer holds an Olive Ridley sea turtle hatchling on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Over 6,000 turtles are expected to arrive there this spawn season. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Holy tweet
    Pope Benedict XVI sent his first Twitter message under @pontifex, blessing hundreds of thousands of new Internet followers in eight different languages. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Extra-special day
    Couples here in Indonesia and around the world took their last chance this century to have a wedding date to remember by getting married on 12/12/12. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Dead pool
    Fish float in the trash in the area where stadiums and the Olympic village will be built for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Copyright: Getty Images)
The most amazing pictures from the past seven days – including bathing snow monkeys, a tweeting pope and elephant dung coffee.

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