Science & Nature

Mar 1, 2017

2016 SCIENCE DISCOVERIES - A CLEARER UNIVERSE

Last year was fertile in discoveries and scientific advance which, a short time ago, looked like mirages. Thanks to some of them, details on the past, present and future of Mankind can now be seen in a clearer way.

Of all the significant science discoveries, in 2016, one can stand out between them, foreseen a 100 years ago, by Albert Einstein (Germany, 1879-1955), in his Theory of Relativity: the existence of tiny distortions in space and in time, which cause gravitational waves. Einstein foreseen that objects in movement in all the Universe produce waves which propel throughout the entire space and, as consequence, these distortions in space and time. This clarifies the existence of black holes and the physical existence of anti-matter, or dark matter.

One excellent news was, also, the world's effort to diminish CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) emission has been producing real effects on the reduction over the Ozone layer hole. Thirty years after signing the Montreal Agreement, signed by 46 countries, we can say the deal worked out and the hole flying over the Antarctica, diminished for more than 4 million km2, only since its monitoring started, in 2000.

Worrying has been the mysterious disappearing of bees. In such way, some of the species have been declared near extinction. This is a most serious problem to all the world, because two thirds of the food we consume, are depending on the pollination this small animal performs. No solution came out yet to solve this major fact, but several reasons have been pointed out for it: Colony Collapse Syndrome, which forces the bees to abandon the bees' nests, with no real reason; excessive use of pesticides in agriculture, which would lead to the appearance of deadly diseases for the animal; or the atmosphere's pollution excess.

Not so much a discovery, but more like a landmark on developing renewal energies, is the example of Solar Impulse 2. It left Abu Dhabi in March 2015, heading east. It made several land scales until the first great challenge: to cross the Pacific Ocean, for the first time, in an aircraft moving on solar power. The did was accomplished, even though there have been great damages over the equipment and the thermal accumulation batteries. The voyage only got back in April 2016, in order to finally get the did concluded on taking a tour around the world in a solar power aircraft.

Does life have a maximum limit? According to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York, USA, it does. According to the University research, until 1995 the lifetime expectations where increasing about 0,15% every year, which means that, each one of us would live almost two more months per year, than the expectations for the previous year. But in 1997, after the death of the oldest person since people's age has been recorded, Jeanne Calment, French, 122 years of age, maximum age has stopped growing and even began to diminish at almost three months per year. Researchers established, this way, maximum age for a human being between 113 and 116 years.

In a South African cave, full of fossils and registrations of the Homo Sapiens Sapiens predecessors, known as the Cradle of Mankind, the oldest form of cancer, so far identified, was found. As studying the fossil of a human foot with 1,7 million years old, archaeologists identified a strange deformation on the bone tissues, which came to prove to be the oldest osteosarcoma. This discovery shows this disease is not a product of modern ages.

In everything, in Planet Earth, there is one first form. At Heinrich Heine University, in Germany, scientists gathered more than six million genes to try to understand how was the genetic makeup of our Universal Ancestor. The living being should have existed 4 billion years ago and, the details show it was a being which did not depend on Oxygen to survive, moreover it absorbed Hydrogen. This way, it was possible to determine it would have inhabited environments rich in Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Iron, such as are found in the deeper oceans. This discovery dismantles the theory which says life would have started from a "nutritional primordial soup".

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