Major expected developments in 2013 in Science

26/12/2012


In the coming year, scientists may be able to see for the first time a black hole, or even a "wormhole" to get crucial information about the possible existence of microbes on Mars and in the Antarctic Lake Vostok, learn to decipher the genome of a single cell, will create a map of "lines of communication" in the brain and will bring The number of open up thousands of exoplanets.

"Radioastron" look into the wormhole

Participants of the Russian astrophysical project "Radioastron" in the first half of 2013, try to see the black hole, or rather its "shadow" and possibly "wormholes" — going beyond the limits of our space-time.

Russian space telescope "Radioastron" is designed to work in conjunction with a global network of ground-based radio telescopes. Together forming a single ground-space very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) is very high angular resolution — up to seven microseconds.

In 2013, the project participants are planning to hold a joint observation with the largest ground-based astronomy observatory VLA (Very Large Array). Their aim will be the galaxy M87 in the constellation Virgo. At its center is a supermassive black hole, the angular size of which is about 30 microseconds. High-resolution "bundles" VLA — "Radioastron" will allow for the first time see the "shadow" of the black hole, the shape of its "event horizon."

Genome single cell

Genetics get into the hands of technology genome and all variations RNA copies of genes (transcripts) in a single cell. This means, in particular, for the first time that scientists will be able to detect the primary genetic damage that leads to cancer and severe genetic disorders.

As expected, some experts in 2013 the first data are obtained about how the unit cells, in particular, brain cells, by examining RNA molecules. At receipt of the new data by investigating the genetic apparatus of RNA molecules that transmit genetic instructions for Factory proteins in cells.

In addition, in 2013, completed the pilot phase of the project "Human Proteome" from the description of all the proteins of the human body.

Map of the brain …

In 2013, work will begin in full force the project to map the connections between neurons in the human brain — Human Connectome Project. In this project, a total budget of 38.5 million dollars, scientists study the brain 1,2 thousand adult volunteers, including — 300 pairs of twins.

Researchers will capture individual differences in the neural connections between different areas of the brain to figure out how they can affect the mental activity and behavior.

Furthermore, as expected, several other projects will investigate neural connections in the brain at the cellular level.

Echo … and the Big Bang

The European Space Telescope, "Plank" will be the most accurate map of the cosmic microwave background radiation — the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang. The previous measurements of variations in the properties of this background has helped confirm the inflationary theory of the Universe expansion. A new data obtained in 2003, helped to clarify information about the composition of the Universe — 5% ordinary matter, 22% — the invisible dark matter, and 73% — dark energy.

These "Plank" will clarify the details of the models, and perhaps find evidence that there are traces of her new, as yet unknown phenomena.

Traces of microbes on Mars …

Mars Rover Curiosity in the next year may find traces of ancient or modern Martian microorganisms. Already this year, the chemical laboratory in the "womb" rover found organic molecules — compounds containing chlorine, carbon and hydrogen, the so-called perchlorate.

However, while scientists can not say with certainty that it is "local" organic compounds, rather than imported rover from Earth.

Furthermore themselves organic materials — compound of carbon and hydrogen — is not always imply the presence of living organisms. In interstellar dust clouds scientists repeatedly detected complex organic molecules, such as molecules of alcohol or formic acid.

Scientists hope that in 2013 they will be able to discover on Mars is not just organic, and organic matter, bearing traces of biological treatment.

And … Antarkticheskoi Lake

Russian polar explorers, who will travel to Antarctica this Friday, will receive the first sample of water from the relic of the Antarctic Lake Vostok, which over millions of years has been isolated from the outside world chetyrehkilometrovoy thick ice.

In the past, scientists, after decades of work, managed to drill a hole to Lake Vostok. As expected, at the time of its penetration into the lake water streamed uphole and then frozen.

Now Russian scientists are going to re-drill svezhezamerzshy lake ice and get information about his possible "population" — the micro. According to available data, the water of Lake Vostok has extremely high concentrations of oxygen. None of the known organisms are not able to exist in these conditions.

Some researchers believe that Lake Vostok may exist previously unseen organisms — oksigenofily capable of surviving in such highly unusual circumstances. Furthermore, it is possible that microorganisms may exist in bottom sediments.

However, analysis of the lake water samples first East (which spilled from the wellbore while drilling) showed that they practically do not contain microorganisms and, therefore, the upper layers of water in the lake likely sterile. In addition, in the coming year to another Antarctic lake — Ellsworth — are planning to infiltrate the British explorers.

Thousand exoplanets

Astronomers in the coming year, it is possible, carry through open up thousands of exoplanets. It is currently known exoplanets 854 in 673 planetary systems.

This year, NASA's orbital telescope "Kepler", launched in March 2009, completed its primary science mission, and began further studies that can last for at least another four years.

During the 3.5 years of "Kepler" has found more than 2.3 thousand "candidates" in exoplanets and confirmed the existence of more than 100 planets outside our solar system. Among them there is a planet, comparable in size to the Earth, and the planets that are in the so-called "zone of life" — the region around a star where on the surface of Earth-like planets liquid water can exist.

Interstellar "Voyager"

Probe "Voyager", launched over 30 years ago, the new year is likely to penetrate into interstellar space and will give out the first data.

In early December, NASA announced that the "Voyager" has entered a new region — the magnetic "highway speed" of charged particles at the edge of the solar system. According to experts, this is the last stage of the journey to interstellar space probe, which can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.

New cancer immunotherapy

It is expected that 2013 will be announced the first results of clinical trials of a new generation of molecules created by genetic engineering and "targeted" against cancer. It is about making bispecific antibodies BiTE (Bispecific T-cell Engager), bind simultaneously to cancer cells and T-lymphocytes.

Scientists believe that using the bispecific antibody can be accurately delivered to the tumor cell toxins, chemotherapeutic agents, and radioactive isotopes thereby reducing the side effects of these agents.

What is the Higgs found?

Topic of the Higgs boson will remain in the world's scientific and trends for the coming year.

While the Large Hadron Collider will go on a long "vacation", physics, using the accumulated results, expect to get more accurate data on particle found on it. Scientists will be able to find out whether she expected "God particle" or the properties of the particles differ from the theoretically predicted.

According to the tentative schedule of the accelerator after the Christmas break on it for nearly a month will be held another session of collisions of protons and lead nuclei. Further the tank is stopped for 20 months, and then begin working on the total energy is almost two times higher than the current one.

 

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