The year 2020 has been a year of massive twists and turns; it has been a roller coaster ride for humanity on the whole.
The Covid -19 pandemic outbreak, which has had the most impact on our minds, body, and life, led us to have had to deal with significant changes in the “way we live.”
Humanity hasn’t for a long time dealt with such predicaments, we have heard stories of the Spanish flu, the plague breakout, cholera, and such, but we have not experienced these calamities up close; they remain as part of documented history that happened a long time ago.
In the current, we have focused on economic activities, political twists and turns, a natural calamity here and there; our lives, for the most part, have been focused on our daily needs, our aspirations, and building for our future revolving around work, family and friends.
But year 2020 has also been a year of some remarkable scientific discoveries that force us to acknowledge that within this bubble of our respective lives, many things that are hidden from us, many discoveries yet to be made, and a world beyond our physical world that we have yet to figure out.
The year 2020 has had some amazing breakthroughs and discoveries by scientists and researchers.
- Mars may be hiding tantalizing lakes beneath its glaciers – in our endeavor to unfold the mysteries of the universe, the possibility of life beyond planet earth, and to study the planets in our solar system, Mars has always fascinated the scientific community. In our bid to find life beyond this planet, scientists follow the trail of water.
Nature Astronomy published a paper in September; researchers discovered three salty water lakes hidden under Mars’s surface. The scientists came to the conclusion that Mars may be hiding tantalizing lakes beneath its glaciers; this large reservoir discovered two years ago was buried under the icy surface of this red planet of our solar system.
According to current findings, these lakes are spread over about 75,000 square kilometers, which would roughly be the size of Germany. Scientists have said if the reservoirs exist, they could be potential habitats for Martian life.
- Discovery of a novel organ in the throat – it seems that our own human body still hides several unknown facts. Scientists “accidentally” found a new organ in the human body.
This discovery made by scientists in the Netherlands is a set of salivary glands set deep in the upper part of the throat. The above finding was made when researchers were studying prostate cancer in Netherlands Cancer Institute and were using a combination of CT scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans called PSMA PET – CT and believe that this discovery may be important for cancer treatment.
In order to confirm the presence of the glands, at least 100 patients were examined.
- Moon may have more water than we thought – NASA in October announced a new discovery about the moon and confirmed the presence of water molecules in Calvius Crater, which is the largest crater on the moon and visible from Earth.
It had indicated millions of tons of ice present in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon’s poles in previous observations.
In the journal Nature Astronomy, studies took lunar surface water availability to a new level, suggesting that there may be far more water on the moon than what was initially thought.
- Metallic Asteroid floating in space – scientists discovered a unique metallic asteroid floating in space and have calculated the worth of the Asteroid, which is approximately ten thousand times the global economy in the year 2019.
If brought to Earth, it can fetch $10,000 quadrillion; this metal-rich Asteroid named “16 Psyche”, which is found to be orbiting the sun, might have iron worth the amount mentioned above. The Asteroid is said to be made mostly of iron and nickel and worth its price in gold.
- Our Milky Way collision with another galaxy: Scientists have been working to find out the secrets and the history of our milky way. In a study focused on the same, scientists have claimed to have discovered evidence of five large–scale galactic mergers, which may have happened almost 10 billion years ago. This included one collision with a mysterious galaxy not known to scientists – but named – Kraken galaxy.
According to these scientists, this collision would have been the most significant merger the milky way ever experienced and may have happened around 11 billion years ago.
- There may be more habitable planets in the Galaxy – The Astronomical Journal published research according to which nearly over more than half of sun-like – stars in our Milky Way may have Habitable planets orbiting it. According to the study, this means that nearly 300 million potentially habitable worlds within our galaxy.
- Jupiter – sized planet orbiting White Dwarf Star – Nasa discovered a potential planet the size of Jupiter orbiting a white dwarf star. This is a Steller discovery since, so far, no intact planet has been detected in close orbits around white dwarfs. White Dwarfs are sun-like stars that have run out of nuclear fuel; it then swells to a thousand times its original size and becomes a cooler red giant. It then loses up to 80% of its mass through ejecting its outer layers of gas; what remains of the hot core then becomes a white dwarf. The star’s red giant phase is when nearby objects get engulfed and incinerated during this process.
- The shortest unit of time ever mentioned – say hello to Zeptosecond; scientists were able to measure the shortest unit of time ever. It is the time that it takes for a light particle to cross a hydrogen molecule. According to Live Science, the shortest time is 247 zeptoseconds, which means this is the time for light to travel across a single molecule of hydrogen – Zeptoseconds.
So, while the year 2020 may have been dominated by the Covid -19 pandemic, the researchers and scientists have found many new things to cheer and shout about.