BBC Future

The best science and technology pictures of the week

  • Mission accomplished
    Privately-operated Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft left the International Space Station after its first successful demonstration mission. (Nasa)
  • Smoke signals
    A traffic policeman tries signalling to drivers during heavy smog in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China. (Reuters)
  • Spit-fire
    Graham Taylor was named RAF Photographer of the year in this year's Royal Air Force Photographic Competition for his photo of a Spitfire TE311 performing a "hot start". (PA Wire)
  • London calling
    Also featured in the RAF Photographic Competition is this Tornado aircraft taking part in the Queens Birthday Flypast over London in June this year. (SAC Andy Masson/UK MOD)
  • Shine on
    Giant mirrors erected on a mountainside reflect sunlight into the Norwegian town of Rjukan, which is normally cut off from direct sunlight for 5-6 months a year. (Reuters)
  • Fire escape
    Ducks moving to a safer place through the bush fires raging in the Blue Mountains, Australia. (Getty Images)
  • Blue-sky thinking
    Artist rendering of Arizona start-up World View Enterprises’ plan for a balloon ride to the stratosphere. Travellers will pay $75,000 to sit in a pressurised capsule. (Reuters)
  • Head ache
    Scientists assemble a Tarbosaurus' skull replica with its actual skeleton found in Gobi Desert, for an exhibit at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. (Reuters)
  • Water sight
    A helicopter with a bucket for dropping water onto bushfires flies past the Sun as it is obscured by smoke in western Sydney, Australia. (Reuters)
  • Star light
    Nasa astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (centre), and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano strike a pose on the International Space Station. (Nasa)
The most impressive pictures from the last seven days, including new ventures in space and mirrors that can light up a town.

To see all the winners of the 2013 RAF Photographic Competition, click here

More stunning image galleries:

Bionic men and Saturn in amazing detail

Robotic firefighters, solar car races and extreme weather

Supervolcanoes on Mars and Chinese military drones

Baby pandas and glowing robots

Northern Lights and baby turtles

Robot dragon and lightning strike

Yosemite fires and an eclipse from Mars

Augmented reality in the operating room

Worm burgers and beetle robots

Baby lobsters and the most sophisticated robot of its time

Clouds from space, illegal animal trade, and an eyeball-shaped camera

Lightning strikes and a popsicle-licking polar bear

Supersonic planes, migrating whales and hair washing in space

Space ventures, extreme Earth, and hot elephants

Flying aces, challenging swims and confused robots

Supermoon, Tesla coils and medical clowns

World’s biggest solar-powered boat and forest fires

Astronaut photography, a tiny helicopter and a hovering bike

Rocket launch, a superfast train, and a tooth shark

Fire-fighting from the skies and an animatronic King Kong

Dancing robots, a pair of MiGs and a topsy-turvy tiger

A drone at sea, a curious lemur and a dramatic landing from space

Tiny robots, printable guns and a sunken German bomber

Dramatic storms, face transplants and a pensive gorilla

Space, bionic limbs and robot protests

Rubber wastelands, a trip to a taxidermist and hurricane testing labs

Flu scares, robot surgery and the untouched planet

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