Every year, the brilliant minds of science are making new discoveries that inspire us to learn more about our natural surroundings from everything microscopic to outer space. Discover the list of 10 Biggest Scientific Discoveries of 2017.
Biggest Scientific Discoveries of 2017
Thanks to the world’s best scientists, engineers and researchers, these scientific breakthroughs of 2017 push the boundaries of what we thought we already knew about life on Earth.
Here are 10 of the wildest, coolest, most promising science finds of the year.
10. Zealandia: New-Continent in the South Pacific
An international team of 32 scientists found a new continent in the South Pacific. The lost land of Zealandia sits on the ocean floor between New Zealand and New Caledonia. It wasn’t always a sunken land — researchers have found fossils that suggested novel kinds of plants and organisms once lived there.
9. Discovery of a Secret Chamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza
Researchers found a 100-foot-long cavern using an innovative imaging technique that depends on high-speed particles called muons or cosmic rays. Researchers used these cosmic rays to penetrate millions of tons of rock in the pyramids and reveal the hidden void via particle detectors.
8. SpaceX Makes History With First-Ever Recycled Rocket Booster
A booster that flew into space last year made the trip again and returned to Earth, marking a major step on the road to cheaper space travel.
The unprecedented twin achievements of re-launching a used rocket and salvaging the vehicle yet again were hailed by billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk as a revolutionary step in his quest to slash launch costs and shorten intervals between space shots.
It took SpaceX, the California-based company, 15 years to demonstrate that a rocket typically discarded in the ocean after a single flight could be recovered and reused.
7. The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada
Known as a nodosaur, this 110 million-year-old, armored plant-eater is the best-preserved fossil of its kind ever found. Some 110 million years ago, this armored plant-eater lumbered through what is now western Canada, until a flooded river swept it into the open sea. The dinosaur’s undersea burial preserved its armor in exquisite detail. Its skull still bears tile-like plates and a gray patina of fossilized skins.
6. Cassini spacecraft took a finale dive into Saturn
5. Scientists saw the head-on Collision of Neutron Stars
Scientists have observed two stars slamming into each other deep in space, sending out huge amounts of gold in an alchemical explosion.
The super-dense stars crashed together 130 million light-years away, spewing out precious metals and other heavy elements like platinum and uranium – and experts say the event has kickstarted a “new chapter in astrophysics” and confirmed theories about the origin of the mysterious neutron stars.
The huge explosion rocked the fabric of the universe, distorting spacetime. That is a major discovery in itself, marking only the fifth time that gravitational waves have been spotted on Earth.
4. For the first time, astronomers track a distant visitor streaking through our solar system
For the first time, scientists in the US have successfully edited the DNA of viable human embryos using the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR. Gaining the ability to edit human DNA is the first step toward one day allowing scientists to prevent babies from being born with incurable diseases or disabilities.
But further success with this kind of research is likely to raise the heated discussion on the ethical implications of genetically altering human embryos. The story was first reported last week by MIT Technology Review.
2. NASA found seven new planets that might be habitable to alien life
The seven globes orbit a star in a neighboring solar system, known as TRAPPIST-1. At least six of them are rocky planets like our own. Scientists say these exoplanets are in what’s known as the “Goldilocks Zone” — not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life to thrive. And they’re just down the block, universally speaking: only 40 light years from Earth.
NASA scientists were pretty pumped about the find because they say these planets are close enough for further study.