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The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2020

Updated September 14, 2020 • 10:00am PDT 35.0k views27 items

Recent scientific advances from 2020 have led to new scientific discoveries while also expanding the scope of what we can explore in space. The latest breakthroughs in science provide us with information regarding potentially habitable worlds beyond our galaxy as well as what is happening right here on Earth. The scientific advancements that have allowed us to see beyond the stars have also given us the opportunity to evoke change in our current climate. The latest discoveries in science and technology give us a chance to make scientific breakthroughs beyond our wildest imaginations. 

Science and technology in 2020 is so advanced it's led to some of the most impressive science discoveries this year. Space and science news in 2020 might lead us in a new direction and challenge the boundaries of what we're capable of. And the most important scientific breakthroughs in 2020 will make it easier for us to grow without disrupting our daily lives. Recent scientific discoveries include radio technology transmitted from another galaxy, and a potentially bursting Betelgeuse Star. 

Science news in 2020 reveals some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time, new science discoveries, and advancements that far outweigh expectations based on the greatest scientific breakthroughs of 2019.

  • Researchers Reveal The Highest-Ever Resolution Images Of The Sun

    After examining the highest-ever resolution images of the sun from NASA's solar sounding rocket mission, researchers at the University of Central Lancashire discovered the sun's outer layer is made up of magnetic threads filled with extremely hot plasma. The photos were taken by NASA's High-Resolution Coronal Imager - a "unique astronomical telescope" that can pick up structures in the sun's atmosphere that are about .01% the actual size of the star. 

    Dr. Tom Williams from the University of Central Lancashire said, "This is a fascinating discovery that could better inform our understanding of the flow of energy through the layers of the sun and eventually down to Earth itself. This is so important if we are to model and predict the behavior of our life-giving star."

    Until now, the sun's atmosphere appeared mostly empty, but with the new images we know a lot more is happening with our central star. 

  • The Coronavirus Lockdown Changed The Way The Earth Moves

    The pandemic that caused communities around the world to shut down in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 might also have slowed the Earth's movement. According to Nature, researchers who study the Earth's movements noticed "a drop in seismic noise... that could be the result of transport networks and other human activities" ceasing. Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, is one of the researchers who observed the drop. He and his team speculate this "could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity." 

    With less noise generated from earthly activities and machinery, seismologists are finding that their detectors are more sensitive to underground movement, allowing more accurate calculations of earthquake aftershocks and more. 

  • Our Days Are Getting Longer

    Photo: Wilson44691 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    According to a study released by the American Geophysical Union's Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology journal, the Earth's days are getting longer and years are getting shorter. By examining fossil mollusk shells from the late Cretaceous period, scientists determined that dinosaurs lived through 23-hour days for 372-day years. The mollusk, from the rudist clams species, is known to have grown rings around its shell daily.

    The study used lasers to accurately count the number of rings around the shell and measure the length of a day 70 million years ago. Niels de Winter, an analytical geochemist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the lead author of the study, told the AGU, "We have about four to five datapoints per day, and this is something that you almost never get in geological history. We can basically look at a day 70 million years ago. It’s pretty amazing." 

    In addition to the time difference, scientists determined that ocean temperatures were warmer, and that "the mollusks harbored photosynthetic symbionts [symbiotic organisms] that may have fueled reef-building on the scale of modern-day corals." 

  • Scientists Use A Technique Called CRISPR To Edit A Gene Inside A Patient's Body

    Photo: Виталий Смолыгин / publicdomainpictures.com / Public Domain

    Dr. Eric Pierce, a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, told NPR that by injecting a microscopic tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, with the hope of restoring sight, he and his team of researchers are "helping open, potentially, an era of gene-editing for therapeutic use that could have impact in many aspects of medicine." With the help of the gene-editing technique called CRISPR, researches may have found a way to successfully edit a gene while the DNA is still inside the patient's body. Results can take up to two to three months. 

    In a study published March 3, researchers explained their hope to treat and prevent "more complex diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, mental illness, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection." Doctors have already used CRISPR to "treat a small number of patients who have cancer, or the rare blood disorders sickle cell anemia or beta-thalassemia," but with the ability to modify genes without extracting them, they may be able to revolutionize the way we approach genetic illness.