For many of us, 2016 is a year that we would like to forget. However, in the world of science, it wasn’t that bad. Many breakthroughs and discoveries were made in the mainly disastrous year.
On January 15th, Tim Peake (ESA) became the first ever British astronaut to complete a spacewalk. The walk was Nasa’s 35th spacewalk and aimed to replace a Sequential Shunt Unit, fitting a non-propulsive valve and also fixing a 28-meter long cable. The spacewalk was cut short after Tim Kopra (Nasa) reported water in his spacesuit. The walk lasted 4 hours 43 minutes.
In February, one of the biggest discoveries of the year took place.Gravitational Waves were found. The waves were first anticipated by Einstein over a century ago. They were found due to the collision of two black holes; using the most sophisticated detector in the world. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time.
In March, Scott Kelly (Nasa) and Mikhail Kornienko (Roscosmos) returned to Earth after a 340-day mission to the International Space Station. The mission helped in the advancement of deep space exploration. Just one of the research projects included “fluid shifts that occur when bodily fluids move into the upper body during weightlessness”.
On April 8th, Falcon 9 made a heroic and historic landing on a drone platform, off the Florida coast. The landing was a first, after five attempts in 15 months for SpaceX. SpaceX plans to use these reusable rockets to carry people and cargo to the ISS and maybe Mars.
On the 26th July, Solar Impulse 2 circumnavigates the Earth, despite being a solar-powered aircraft It is the first to go around the Earth and altogether, had a flight time of 558 hours.
In October, The Paris Agreement was signed by the United Nations. It brings all the nations of the world to undertake different efforts to combat global warming. It aims to keep a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celcius, this century. It is a big step in tackling the problem of global warming.
However, 2016 means we have to say goodbye to people. Last year we lost many different scientists and inspirations. Deaths of this year include Ray Tomlinson (1941-2016), the inventor of the modern day email; Edgar Mitchell (1930-2016), 6th man to walk on the moon; Thomas Schelling (1921-2016), Nobel Prize-winning economist known for his study of game theory and also, John Glenn, first US astronaut in space. These are just some of tragic deaths that have occurred in 2016.
Altogether, 2016 was very successful for the science world. To some, last year was one to be forgotten. To me, it was one of the best years for science.