WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SCIENCE IN 2016?

Dec

27

2015

2015 came to an end, and we have repeatedly said goodbye to his achievements and breakthroughs. What to expect from the next year? Mission to Mars, the fight against carbon, gravitational waves – is part of the list that will have to make the agenda for 2016 minutes. Of course, in addition to our forecasts, we would like to see something totally unexpected – like the discovery of new particles at the Large Hadron Collider, or news from aliens.

Carbon dioxide – suck

The Swiss company is going to be the first that will capture carbon dioxide in the air and sell it on a commercial scale, gradually building a path to a larger object, which one day may help us in the fight against global warming. In July Climeworks plans to produce 75 tonnes of carbon dioxide per month at its plant near Zurich, and then sell this gas nearby greenhouses to improve the growth of crops. Another company – Carbon Engineering in Calgary, Canada, that sucks CO2 from October, but has not yet put it on the market – hopes to show that it can convert the gas into liquid fuels. Factories around the world for the gas extracted from waste plants, but in 2015, only a small demonstration projects sucked it out of the air.

Genes: cut and paste

Gene editing technology will begin testing on humans. Sangamo Biosciences in Richmond, California, will experiment with the use of enzymes – nucleases zinc finger – to correct the gene defect that causes hemophilia. Working with Biogen of Cambridge, the company also will begin testing to see whether this technique to speed up the formation of functional hemoglobin in people with blood disease beta-thalassemia. Scientists and ethics are hoping to agree on the common theme of safety and ethical editing of genes of people at the end of 2016. This year we also see the birth of the first genetically modified monkey with symptoms of human diseases, which scientists will study the example of visual models.

High hopes for space

Physicists believe that it is in the next year they will see the first evidence of gravitational waves – ripples of space-time caused by moving objects like a dense rotating neutron stars – thanks to the observatory Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO). Japan will also launch Astro-H, the next generation of X-ray satellite observatory, which, among other things, be able to confirm or refute the statement that heavy neutrinos cause the signals of dark matter, known as “bulbulony» (bulbulons). Hints of a possible new particle from the Large Hadron Collider, which operates at record energies since last June, is also clarified, because the machine quickly stores the data, but now “on vacation.” Even if the particle is not confirmed, the LHC may still be faced with unusual phenomena, such as the gluon: particles created entirely from carriers strong nuclear force.

Wildcats research

Very soon the scientists will learn whether the renewed investigation, which resulted in viruses become more dangerous. In October 2014, the US government abruptly suspended financial support for research “amplification functions”. Such experiments may increase understanding of how to develop certain pathogens and how they can be destroyed, but critics say that this work also increases the risk, for example, the accidental release of deadly viruses. An analysis of risks and benefits was completed in December 2015, and the National Science Advisory Board will issue biosafety recommendations in the next few months regarding the order to renew the funding or not.

Commercial development

One research group was lucky enough to get a grant for $ 50 million on research of heart disease by Internet giant Google and the American Heart Association. Portfolio disease research Google is growing. Private funding also will celebrate the cosmic sphere: a non-profit society Planetary Society in Pasadena, California, in April, plans to launch a mission to test a spacecraft on the solar sail LightSail. It will cost $ 4.5 million.

To Mars and beyond

The orbits of Earth and Mars will summarize the planet closer together this year, creating an ideal opportunity for a trip to the Red Planet. A joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency uses this opportunity. In March 2016 the project will be launched ExoMars, which will analyze the Martian atmosphere and ground planting technology. In July, will arrive at Jupiter probe Juno agency NASA. In September, the unit “Rosetta” of the European Space Agency, will fall to the comet, which revolves in the orbit. The rest will have to console launch mission OSIRIS-Rex, which takes samples of the asteroid Bennu.

Space launches

Hot on the heels of the 100 millionth Dark Matter Particle Explorer, launched last December, the Chinese National Space Science Center will launch the second and third space probes in a series of five planned. The world’s first experimental satellite quantum communication will be launched in June, and by year’s end and will go into space Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope – which will examine the sky for radiation sources of energy, such as black holes and neutron stars. In September, the Chinese will be fully completed 500-meter telescope FAST, which will replace the Arecibo Observatory Puerto Rican from the place the world’s largest radio telescope. In Hawaii, the team Thirty Meter Telescope will decide what to do with the project further, as in December, its construction was stopped.

Discovery of a microcosm of life

The following year, the first results of an ambitious project on the analysis of microbial communities in the world. Earth Microbiome Project, which was launched in 2010, will have to be sequenced, and characterized by at least 200,000 microbial DNA samples taken from everywhere, from languages ​​and finishing Komodo dragons soil in the Siberian tundra. The project promises to reveal unprecedented levels of biological diversity.

Dreams of genes

Neuroscientists hope to finally identify the genes that are crucial for controlling the time and duration of sleep, but the possibility exists that they will also find other brain functions. The exact definition of such genes may shed light on sleep disorders and some psychiatric diseases associated with disturbed sleep.

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