Discovery Channel summarized the first decade of XXI century, presenting a list of the ten most significant discoveries during this time.
1. Speed of melting glaciers
Researchers at the Earth’s climate indicate that the giant ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than thought – contrary to what scientists have said before, based on the erroneous model calculation.
Famous snow of Kilimanjaro and other low-latitude mountains may disappear completely. Thick Arctic ice is rapidly decreasing, and this means that the Arctic Ocean, most likely in the future will be free of ice in the summer.
The main problem – it is the consequences of those melting. According to some projections, rising sea levels will take the city under water and islands, which are vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. On the other hand, mountain glaciers around the world will become a source of fresh water to billions.
Whatever it was, the worst thing you can say in this situation is the fact that the earth with less ice – less hospitable planet.
2. Mapping the human genome.
It took more than 10 years, and international collaboration of scientists that in 2000 he was made a preliminary analysis of the entire human genome, for which in 2003 was followed by a final version.
State-funded Human Genome Project and its private competitor, Celera Genomics, is one of the largest research effort in history, which reveal more than the intimate details of what is from itself is a human being.
Curled up inside each human cell there are 23 molecules, which, if they unwind and bring the ends to the ends, will die down in 91 cm length. These molecules, known as the chromosomes contain all the instructions needed to create an entire human being.
3. Finding water on Mars.
In 2008, staff organizations Phoenix NASA landed on Mars in order to confirm the presence of water and found signs of organic compounds.
Eight years ago, Mars Global Surveyor camera pointed at the scenic gully, rather gullies created by streams of water. Well, recently, the apparatus Mars Expedition Rovers discovered minerals, which also indicates the presence of ancient water. Yet evidence of water remained elusive.
Until, finally, the machine does not put Phoenix in the North Pole of the Red Planet, in order to dig up samples for analysis. At the time of the capture of one of the samples, on-board camera with a white powder in one of the soil mass. In the comparison of images taken in the next few days, the powder slowly disappearing. After intensive analysis, researchers concluded that the white powder – water ice.
This discovery not only confirms the presence of water on Mars, but also gives hope that microbes can use this water for survival.
4. Obtaining stem cells ethical way.
In 2007, researchers from Kyoto University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison independently allowed to mature adult human skin cells that have been programmed to become skin, to behave like embryonic stem cells. Adult cells transformed into pluripotent cells, or cells that can be virtually any other type of cells.
These pluripotent cells of an adult decided two important issues. It turned out that the ethical considerations and financial constraints can be avoided, as doctors can, in the end, using their own cells from human DNA to grow organs for transplant, which the patient will not reject.
5. Management of prosthetic devices using brain signals.
Cyborgs gradually become our reality. Over the past decade have made great strides in controlling the people of the automated parts of the body and computers with the help of intelligence.
In 2000, the University of Duke in the brains of monkeys introduced electrodes and trained to take food using a robotic arm.
A team from the MIT Media Lab Europe developed a noninvasive method of reading brain waves, and in 2004 first used these signals to guide the movements of the heroes videogame.
Automated parts of the body controlled by nerve impulses made their debut in 2001 at Chicago’s Rehabilitation Institute. There invalid Jesse Sullivan used the automated method of managing both hands.
And, finally, in 2009 Pierpaolo Petruziello learned to control the biomechanical arm connected to the nerves of his stump with wires and electrodes. Petruziello was the first man in the world who could perform a range of motion only through the power of thought.
6. Detecting planets “Aliens”
In 2008, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared Keck and Gemini observatories in Hawaii, have announced that they “saw” extrasolar planets revolving around distant stars. Two observatories recorded by these alien worlds.
Specialists Keck Observatory, made out of three extrasolar planets that have revolved around the star HR8799, which lies at a distance of 150 light years from Earth. Because Hubble was able to identify one massive extrasolar planets rotating around the star Fomalhaut – it lies at a distance of 25 light years from our planet.
7. New ancestors
In 2002, in the northern part of Chad, researchers have discovered the skull of the age of 6-7 million years old, belonging to Sahelanthropus tchadensis – known as Toumai (Toumay). As had been found only the skull, scientists could not answer the question, whether this ancestor walked upright man, leaning on two legs.
In 2009, in the north-eastern Ethiopia have found the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor ever found – the skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus, later known as Ardi.
Ardi age 4.4 million years could walk on two legs, but also characterized the ability to climb trees. Its teeth show it ate many different kinds of food. Scientists theorize that men (males) and women (females) were divided into pairs at a given time, significantly improving survival rates, because women can increase their capacity to bear children only until the men fetched them food.
8. Confirmation of the existence of dark matter
Summer of 2006, astronomers announced that something will help people understand the space a little better: they have direct evidence confirming the existence of dark matter. And meanwhile, they still can not say definitely that she is there.
Unprecedented evidence comes from a careful weighing of gas and stars scattered between two large clusters of galaxies in the cluster of bullet.
9. The study of dinosaur soft tissue
In 2005, Mary Higbay Shveitzer and her colleagues reported the discovery of what is called the soft tissues – blood vessels, bone matrix and other cells – in fossilizirovannoy femur little Tyrannosaurus Rex. Obtained from the tissue amino acids resemble those of modern chickens, which, according to scientists, reinforces the link between dinosaurs and birds.
10. Opening of a new space object in the solar system
In January 2005, Mike Brown and his team through Palomar Observatory have discovered 136199 Eris – a small body, which is 27% larger than Pluto. Eris and Pluto has surpassed the 9 th largest cosmic body of the known solar orbit.