What’s In Store For The World Of Science In 2017?

SpaceX‘s reusable rockets. Water on Mars, Climate change. The menace of Zika virus. 2016 certainly kept the scientific community busy.

By Athena Chan 

With so much already done yet so much still to do, 2017 looks like it is in for even more breakthroughs, transitions and discoveries.

Space Exploration

The efforts to search for possibly life bearing planets and even planetary moons may bear fruit in 2017 as Cassini-Hyugen’s 12 year journey to Saturn is nearing its end. As it runs out of fuel, the vessel is scheduled to end its journey on September 15, 2017 as it dives into Saturn’s surface. In addition to this momentous event, NASA’s Spacecraft Juno is also expected to make its landing in Jupiter where it will examine the planet’s surface and composition. By and large, 2017 is set to be quite the monumental year for space exploration.

Climate Change And The Environment

2016 was a momentous year for environmentalists and climate change activists because the Paris Agreement was ratified and implemented this year. With more and more people, even celebrities, speaking out about the phenomenon, awareness is continuing to spread among the masses.

However, despite this hopeful event, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s decision to appoint Climate Deniers including Texas Governor Rick Perry to his cabinet raises concerns among environmental advocates such as members of the Climate Reality Project founded by former US Vice President Al Gore.

The organization’s President and CEO Ken Berlin has already released a statement expressing his concern about these recent appointments. As one of the most influential countries, this decision could drastically affect the United States’ implementation and support of the global agreement.

With the Paris Agreement already in place and countries slowly, and some even drastically, moving away from fossil fuels, 2017 will be a transition period to be observed as there will still undoubtedly be apprehensions about this much needed change.

Astronomy

A total solar eclipse that hasn’t been seen in the United States since the American Revolution will be a great treat for sky watchers in 2017. On Aug. 21, 2017, the very rare total solar eclipse will be seen from coast to coast and last for about 2 minutes.

Another massive treat for astronomy enthusiasts is the possibility of seeing the first images of the massive Sagittarius A black hole in Milky Way. With China’s new massive telescope ready to explore, the scientific community could truly advance their observations of celestial events and the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Biology, Health And Medicine

The closing year’s big health alert was the Zika virus and its effects on unborn children. Unfortunately, scientists do not see this virus backing up just yet. But while the virus continues to be a health hazard to many, more information is gathered about the virus by the day and vaccine trials will hopefully be underway. However, continuous experiments on antibiotics could result in more drug-resistant, harder to kill bacteria.

Genetic modification may also be another focus among the medical community to search for cures, vaccines and solutions to various medical problems including the dreaded cancer and HIV. In relation to the current problem with Zika Virus, there is a possibility of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus and Dengue Fever in the Florida Keys. – Tech Times

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