Each year scientists from all around the world make extraordinary scientific breakthroughs and discoveries – Regardless if it is a new fossil or a cure for a disease, each discovery is a wide achievement and will change our perception of reality in some manner. That’s why we have collected our top 10 science breakthroughs (not in any particular order) of 2018 that are inspiring, awesome and that may change your perception of things. Ready?
1) Scientists discovered the largest animal to set foot on Earth!
In September 2018, researchers in South Africa discovered the largest animal known to set foot on Earth – a 26,000-pound dinosaur, relative of the Brontosaurus. Estimated to be near twice the size of a fully-grown African Elephant, researchers believe this animal was alive around 200 million years ago, so at the planet’s very early existence. Known as the “Ledumahadi Mafube”, this organism was very similar to the friendly, four-legged, vegetarian brontosaurus, but was much more “crouched” and “thick”.
2) Water on Mars!
In July 2018, the Italian Space Agency made a long-overdue discovery of liquid water presence on Mars. Furthermore, we aren’t talking about a drop of H2O here, as researchers discovered a whole underground lake that is roughly 12.4 miles wide and 3 feet deep! An incredible breakthrough that has contributed to the also iconic mystery which is the potential for life on Mars – maybe 2019?
3) Revering the ageing process…
In March 2018, studies were published that a team of Boston researchers had found a way to reverse ageing in mice. In-depth, ageing in mammals is related to a molecule called NAD. The levels of NAD naturally drop over time, leading to the process of wrinkling, body failure and potential age-related diseases. Dr David Sinclair, the leader of this team, managed to develop a dietary supplement to give to older mice, containing ingredients that are supposed to boost NAD levels. Miraculously, the mice became young again and their health had improved dramatically. The team ideally want to do the same experiment with human, which could, if done successfully, help slow ageing and reduce the likelihood of developing diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
4) New robotic fish
In March 2018, MIT researchers revealed their new Soft Robotic Fish (SoFi), designed to study and monitor ocean populations and living by communicating with acoustic sounds rather than radio frequency. Shaped like an actual fish (with fins and a tail!), SoFi is able to move around more easily underwater and looks less suspicious to underwater life. Let’s just hope a shark doesn’t mistake it for dinner!
5) NASA’s rover finds more evidence for life on Mars
Even if you aren’t a big fan of science, you should know that NASA has been working for a very long time to discover the potential of life on Mars. Well, in June 2018 the Curiosity rover discovered an assortment of organic, carbon-based molecules on Mars’ surface. These molecules are also the building blocks of life also found here on Earth, so despite their existence doesn’t completely confirm life, they certainly confirm geological processes alone. Awesome!
6) Scientists identified the world’s oldest animal known!
In September 2018, Australian scientists have finally discovered the earliest known member of the animal kingdom – a fossil known as Dickinsonia. By “finally”, we mean that the fossil has gone unidentified since 1947, so this is one big breakthrough! After the researchers examined the molecules found on the fossil, they were able to confirm that the creature was alive 558 million years ago, making it the oldest animal is known to be on planet Earth.
7) A cure for blindness?
This year, scientists performed an experimental stem cell therapy session on two patients with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. Fortunately, the treatment proved successful, as both patients had fully restored vision. Moreover, the process involves implanting patches of stem cells over the damaged portions of the eyes. Despite the promising success, tests are still undergoing to ensure no adverse effects happen due to the procedure.
8) Scientists getting closer to a cancer vaccine
This point is probably the biggest breakthrough out of the 10 we are discussing today – a cancer vaccination. Additionally, in February 2018, scientists at Stanford University conducted an experiment where they injected mice with inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which had a strong immune system response to a variety of cancer types. Despite the fact that humans haven’t been experimented on yet, the team thoroughly believe it is a step closer to producing cancer treatments and even vaccinations to protect our future generations.
9) Scientists revealed how to pinpoint a ghost particle
In July 2018, scientists published a study revealing how they are able to accurately pinpoint a neutrino’s source. Neutrinos, or “ghost particles” are subatomic particles that have no charge and barely any mass – these tiny particles are so small they don’t have any interaction with other particles, giving them their name, ‘ghost particles’. This is a big breakthrough because scientists believe these particles can help solve things like cosmo mysteries. (we hope you weren’t expecting the discovery of ghosts!)
10) The potential discovery of a new organ
In March 2018, researchers attending the New York University School of Medicine discovered something that could completely change our perception of the human body. That’s right, they believe they have discovered a new organ! The interstitium was previously thought to be a thick layer of tissues, but these researchers believe that instead, it is a tiny channel that connects to the lymphatic system. Although this is yet to be officially confirmed, this kind of breakthrough will cause pretty major implications for the medical industry regarding things such as the spread of cancer etc.
Thank you for reading.