The year of 2015 was full of innovations in science and technology. From finding water on another planet to developing super antibiotics, life got quite interesting the past year, which brings us to hope things will only get better in 2016.
We listed below the 10 best innovations and discoveries of the year:
This might perhaps be one of the most important findings in NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life. Evidence indicating the existence of salty water in Mars were reported this year. It was said that the amount of salt contained in the water determines whether it can support life or not. At the moment, it is not yet known whether the water can support life as we know it.
The Large Hadron Collider is back in action at the CERN laboratory after receiving a big upgrade in the time since its last run in 2012. The particle collider is poised to make discoveries that could rewrite the book on particle physics.
A new technology called Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) promises connections up to 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. According to researchers, the new alternative technology transmits high-speed data using visible light communication, which would reach speeds of 1 Gbps, which is about 100 times faster than a standard WiFi.
The Ocean Cleanup Project
Although it was originally founded in 2013, “The Ocean Cleanup” project only began its testings in October of this year. The idea is simple: a platform with floating arms would use the ocean’s natural currents to intercept and collect all the garbage deposited in the oceans. In order to preserve marine life, these rods were used instead of nets.
Solaroad was way more productive than expected
The first solar road in the world, a 70-meter-long bike path stretches between the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveerand has produced way more energy than planned – more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, to be more precise, which is enough to supply a small family household for a year. It is also twice as environmentally friendly since it is not intended to be used by motor vehicles, but by bikes.
A group of researchers have developed a new super antibiotic compound that destroys bacteria without allowing it to develop any resistance to it. It is said to be effective against pathogens that have developed resistance to other drugs.
Google and NASA engineers announced that tests with the D-WAVE 2X, the quantum computer developed by them, showed that it’s 100 million times faster than an ordinary computer. The impressive record was achieved in a test in which the D-WAVE 2X ran an optimization problem and found a solution much faster than a conventional computer, using a single-core processor.
This technology, which is being developed by RevMedx, uses small sponges to stop the blood flow. Once placed at the spot, they expand in about a quarter of a minute to fill the wound completely. Most importantly, the sponge exerts sufficient pressure for the wound to stay closed. Hence it does not require any external pressure unlike the gauze dressing used to pack battlefield wounds today.
With the successful return of its booster, SpaceX opens up the possibility to drastically reduce the overall cost of a space mission, as they will be able to reuse it, which could make space tourism and a trip to Mars more feasible. Until then, satellite-launching rockets had the downside of not being reusable: each launch required the construction of a brand new rocket.
Quantum teleportation is a process by which quantum information is sent from a transmitter to a receiver destination with the help of quantum entanglement, and despite the name, it is not a method of transportation, but of communication. Sending messages through this technology can be somewhat tricky, since the equipment must be perfectly aligned so that the signal is received correctly. However, scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology have just recently achieved an unprecedented feat in the field of quantum teleportation. They were able to teleport information from a photon over 101 kilometers of optical cable.