Science has proceeded at pace throughout 2018. Mars probably harbours a lake of liquid water – a vital component for life – while artificial intelligence is competently taking control of an increasing number tasks, from disease diagnosis to crater counting. And it seems there are no signs of letting-up next year, with even more amazing discoveries expected in 2019. Here are just some some of the most exciting science discoveries or events taking place in 2019.
The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) commences its next observing run in February, allowing the detection of more black hole mergers.
2019 could also be the year the Event Horizon Telescope finally “sees” the Sagittarius A* black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
China is expected to land the first sample-return mission on the Moon since 1976, while India will travel to the Moon’s south pole.
And the Parker Solar Probe will in August fly close enough to the Sun to garner new information about the star.
Science will increasingly focus on the human condition, and how evolution produced us, with the help of anthropologists and geneticists.
2019 could also be the year scientists finally figure out the purpose of the mysterious claustrum area of the human brain, which was once believed to be the seat of human consciousness.
This year’s flu season was particularly brutal, causing 80,000 deaths in the US alone but 2019 could potentially be the year for a universal flu vaccine.
2019 may also see scaled-up production of cell-based vaccines, which are reportedly 20 percent more effective than the current stock.
There will be more accidents involving self-driving cars in 2019 — because there will be more self-driving cars on the road and setups make it near-impossible to take control if something goes wrong.
Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – chemicals used in nonstick coatings and firefighting foams could increasingly contaminants water sources.
CRISPR gene-editing will continue hitting the headlines, with the fallout from China’s gene-edited babies continuing to be felt.
With news of Caltech researchers restoring sensation to a paralyzed man’s arm, 2019 is set to continue unlocking the secrets of the brain’s relationship to human capacities.
A salamander-attacking fungus, nicknamed Bsal, will likely continue its spread from Asia via the pet trade and could potentially reach North America.
Man-made climate change will roll-on, with last year has supplying more studies increasingly connecting climate change to extreme events such as hurricanes and heat waves.
Slowing climate change and limiting global warming will require technology able to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, so research in this field is expected