With the start of the new decade we naturally want to look back and see how we did in the decade we are leaving. So we decided to take this moment and look at the greatest scientific discoveries of the past 10 years.
In the last decade, scientists, researchers, and inventors have put their brilliant minds together and have made breakthroughs in cancer research, environmental progress, and so much more. Take a look at some of our favorite discoveries below.
The Red Planet Might Be Habitable
Now, no life has been discovered, but the next best thing happened this past decade.
On June 7th, 2018, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) made several announcements regarding discoveries made by the Curiosity rover. The rover found organic matter on Mars in soil samples taken from 3 billion-year-old mudstone in the Gale crater. The rover also detected methane in the Martian atmosphere.
The search for life on other planets has always been a focus for NASA. A lot may initially think of green aliens; however, “alien life” can come in several different forms.
“Organic compounds are fundamental to our search for life,” said Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at Goddard.
What the rover found isn’t exactly evidence of life outside of our planet, but it one of the building blocks for life itself, be it a record detailing ancient life, a food source for life, or something that exists in the place of life.
To learn more, check our our article below,
The First Image of a Black Hole
Lying in a galaxy called M87 more than 50 million light-years away from Earth, the first-ever image of a black hole was taken thanks to a world-wide network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).
“We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole,” Sheperd Doeleman, EHT Director and astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said April 10 in Washington, D.C., at a news conference.
“We’ve been studying black holes so long, sometimes it’s easy to forget that none of us have actually seen one,” France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, said in the Washington, D.C., news conference. Seeing one “is a Herculean task,” she said.
To learn more about this amazing step in the research of black holes, check out the official published results in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The CRISPR Era is Upon Us
CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genes and allows scientists to rapidly and accurately ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ genes into DNA. It is based on a targeted DNA-destroying defense system that was originally found in certain prokaryotes.
CRISPR, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, describes a family of nucleic acid sequences that were discovered in archaea and bacteria in the 1990s containing copies of virus genes.
At the end of 2018, controversy around the topic hit when Chinese scientist claimed he had used CRISPR on human embryos that ended up being carried to term and born. This case is still being investigated thoroughly. To learn more about this case as well as the general science of CRISPR, click here.
Our Family Ancestry Changed
The decade of great scientific discoveries kicked off with a major new addition to our family tree. Scientists were able to sequence the DNA of a young female finger bone in 2010, finding that is was genetically related to modern humans and Neanderthals.
Deemed Denisovans, after the Denisova Cave in Siberia, these distant relatives give a whole new light to what we thought about modern humanity. The advances in DNA testing was able to lead to this revolution in our ability to sequence genetic material that are tens of thousands of years old. It has helped unraveled ancient migrations, like that of the Bronze Age herders.
These are only a few of the amazing scientific discoveries of the last decade. Do you have a favorite that wasn’t on our list? Let us know in the comments below!