cool The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017  

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Every year, the brilliant minds of science are making new discoveries that inspire us to learn more about our natural surroundings from everything microscopic to outer space. Thanks to the world's best scientists and researchers, these scientific breakthroughs of 2017 push the boundaries of what we thought we already knew about life on Earth. If you're curious about our progress in science, check out the list of scientific breakthroughs in 2016

These 2017 scientific discoveries are not only educational and informative, but they are also surprisingly amazing! If you want to catch up with this year's breakthroughs in science, this list has it all, including photos, videos, and other detailed info. 

Ready to fill your brain with the latest science news? Start reading this list of the biggest discoveries in science and tech of 2017! 

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New Invention Pulls Water Out Of Thin Air


New Invention Pulls Water Out ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017
Photo: University of California, Berkeley

Researchers at MIT and University of California, Berkeley figured out how to pull water out of thin air. Scientists developed a device that pulls water out of the air in weather conditions where there's as low as 20% humidity. It's a solar-powered device that uses a metal-organic framework made of zirconium and fumarate to suck water vapor out of the air. 

The prototype was able to pull three quarts of water in 12 hours while sitting in an area that had 20% to 30% humidity. 

Scientists believe this could be revolutionary to areas where there's little access to clean water, including many areas in Africa. 

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Scientists Figure Out How To Turn Hydrogen Into Metal


Scientists Figure Out How To T... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017
Photo: - François -/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Harvard University scientists figured out how to turn hydrogen - the lightest of all elements - into a metal, a feat studied by researchers for nearly 100 years. 

Experts say this new discovery could revolutionize the modern world. The properties of metallic hydrogen could lead to faster super computers, levitating railways, and advances in energy that could literally power rocket ships deep into our solar system.

"It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make metallic hydrogen," said Professor Isaac Silvera. "And if you convert it back to molecular hydrogen, all that energy is release, so it would make it the most powerful rocket propellant known to man and could revolutionize rocketry. That would easily allow you to explore the outer planets."

But don't get too excited - while scientists say the discovery is a huge step, the sample size they used is extremely small. More tests will determine whether larger quantities of hydrogen can be transformed into a metal. 

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Gravitational Waves Prove Einstein's Theory Of General Relativity


Gravitational Waves Prove Eins... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017
Photo: Chaos/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity states that space and time are unified into one continuum: space-time. Objects in the universe, no matter their size, warp space-time as they move, creating ripples known as gravitational waves.

Until recently, however, that theory was just that: a theory. But new technological advancements allow astrophysicists to measure the massive gravitational waves created by huge objects in deep space. Usually these come from black holes and neutron stars millions and millions of light years away, so their waves are incredibly faint by the time they reach Earth.

In September 2017, gravitational waves were detected by three separate observatories at once. With all that data, scientists are better able to pinpoint where the waves are coming from, and learn more about them and the universe at large. Better yet, it proves the existence of gravitational waves – and therefore space-time – once and for all.

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There's Seven Earth-Sized Planets In Aquarius (No, Seriously)


There's Seven Earth-Sized ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017
Photo: NASA/Vox

While this sounds like a strange astrology reading of sorts, this is in fact very real. Scientists discovered seven earth-sized planets in the constellation of Aquarius surrounding a star. Based on their proximity to the star and their general size, scientists believe these planets could be home to life. 

The planets are 39 light years away and surround a dwarf star that doesn't emit quite as much energy as ours, but nevertheless scientists think life could be living there. Researchers hope that "within a decade" we might be able to determine if life is on the planets. 

"I think we've made a crucial step in finding out if there's life out there," said Amaury Triaud, a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. "If life managed to thrive and release gases in a similar way as Earth, we will know."