Cone-shaped tongue papillae, seen here in a colored scanning electron micrograph, contain nerve endings that receive and transmit touch sensations to the brain. Inside the mouth, shown magnified here, teeth, tongue, and saliva work together to physically and chemically break down food.
This colored scanning micrograph shows a cast of blood vessels from the external wall of the small intestine.
Once food is swallowed, it passes through the esophagus into the stomach, the pink organ shown here above the yellow pancreas.
This image shows the lower digestive organs, including liver and stomach (enclosed by the rib cage) and the small and large intestines. For the amounts of food it is constantly processing, the digestive system is an incredibly efficient machine, but problems can arise.
National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.
Follow mountaineer Conrad Anker, photographer Cory Richards, and their team as they attempt the West Ridge route in the alpine style, carrying all their own food, shelter, and equipment. The space-weather forecast for the next few years: solar storms, with a chance of catastrophic blackouts on Earth. Archaeologists and artists, armed with the latest tools and techniques, are bringing the life-size army of painted clay soldiers back to life. Each month, National Geographic magazine features breathtaking photographs in Visions of Earth. Seen here in a scanning electron micrograph, the epidermis is a tough coating formed from overlapping layers of dead skin cells, which continually slough off and are replaced with cells from the living layers beneath. To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option. To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash.


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Neptune's Great Dark Spot is clearly visible in this image of the small planet, taken in 1989 from Voyager 2. Neptune's largest moon, Triton, hovers beneath the planet in this image taken by Voyager 2 in 1989. Several storms are at work in Neptune's windy atmosphere in this Voyager 2 image taken in August 1989.
The largest of Neptune's 13 moons, Triton is one of only three objects in the solar system known to have a nitrogen-dominated atmosphere.
The bright blue marble of Neptune glows across the horizon of its scarred and pockmarked largest moon, Triton, in this composite image. Martti Tenhu, chief medical examiner in Helsinki, Finland, illustrates the differences between a normal human heart and one enlarged by alcoholism and high blood pressure. Humans produce up to 3 pints (1.4 liters) of saliva daily, and chemical enzymes in the saliva play a major role in disintegrating starchy foods. The digestive system helps break down complex meals into the constituent parts the body can use: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Measuring about 22 feet (6.7 meters) in length, the small intestine performs most of the major digestion and absorption of nutrients. A large, muscular chamber, the stomach produces digestive juices like pepsin, lipase, and hydrochloric acid, which digest and dissolve stomach contents. After the small intestine absorbs food nutrients, leftover waste passes into the large intestine, where it's worked on by billions of harmless bacteria and mixed with dead cells to form solid feces. Here, a surgeon performs a cyst gastrostomy, the removal of non-cancerous growths from the pancreas. The Great Dark Spot was a rotating storm system similar in size to Jupiter's Great Red Spot.


The planet's blue color comes from methane in the atmosphere and another component that's a mystery to astronomers. Triton is the only large moon in the solar system that has a retrograde orbit, meaning it circles its planet in a direction opposite to the planet's rotation.
The foreground is a computer-generated view of Triton's maria—large, flat areas—as they would appear from a point approximately 28 miles (45 kilometers) above the surface.
The walls of the small intestine are lined with millions of projections called villi, which absorb and transmit nutrients into the bloodstream.
The word 'muscle' comes from Latin term meaning 'little mouse', which is what Ancient Romans thought flexed bicep muscles resembled. Winds near the spot were measured up to 1,500 miles an hour (2,400 kilometers an hour)—the strongest recorded on any planet. Beneath it is the bright white feature that Voyager scientists nicknamed "Scooter." Another storm, Dark Spot 2, roils at the bottom of this image.
It's so cold that most of its nitrogen condenses as frost, making it the only moon known to have a surface made mainly of nitrogen ice. Such alcoholic cardiomyopathy weakens the heart so that it is unable to pump blood adequately.
When the Hubble Space Telescope viewed Neptune in 1994, the storm system had vanished and another dark spot had cropped up in the planet's northern hemisphere.



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