Today for you a dozen scientific experiments that could change our lives for the better in the coming decades. Very soon we will be able to enjoy the fruits of scientific research.
Implantation of "smart" microcapsules in the human body
Implantation of the nanocapsules is in full swing
This device was invented in NASA research center in California.
It represents the carbon nanotubes which can be implanted under the skin.
Imagine a "smart" microcapsule sewn into the human body, which enters the bloodstream vital to an individual medication at the right time and in the required doses.
Such a device could save hundreds of thousands of sick people who need to constantly take medication. For example, if the nanotube place islet cells of the pancreas, which normally produce insulin, they are useful for treating diabetes.
One of the modifications of the device is planned to implant the astronauts. The idea is that the nanotubes contain biological material (live cells), which responds, for example, the increase in radiation during solar flares and releases the drug that protects the astronaut's body. Cells in the nanotubes can be modified by genetic engineering techniques so that they produce the desired substances in response to environmental changes.
Protect Human radiation may, for example, protein G-CSF — a substance which is used for radiation therapy of cancer patients.
Carbon nanotubes must have pores that allow the cells to grow and divide, and medicine — to stand out in the host organism. Now capsules tested on animals. But in the near future, scientists will go to the experiments on volunteers.
Machines absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Processing plant carbon dioxide (Canada)
The future global climate change has long been discussed at all levels of society. The main cause of global warming is carbon dioxide, produced in large quantities by industrial enterprises and transport systems around the world. Canadian firm Carbon Engineering hopes to change the situation through chemical extraction of this gas from the atmosphere.
Invented by the specialists of the unit can suck in air and pass it through a sodium hydroxide. As a result, carbon dioxide is converted into solid carbon residue — carbonic salt. But it can already be used for industrial purposes or simply bury.
In the past year have passed a test of this system, which worked 500 hours, successfully removing carbon dioxide from the air. The next experiment will last for thousands of hours. Engineers are interested in how the device will respond to different weather conditions.
The company hopes to develop a commercial pilot project in 2013. Each of the modules of the device will resemble a giant cooling tower of a nuclear power plant and will be able to extract one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. Our civilization produces annually 30 billion tons of the gas, ie the need to work 30,000 modules to completely neutralize the impact of humanity on the planet's climate.
The solution temperature superconductors
The future of electricity — Superconductors
In superconductors, is the future of communication and storage of electricity. These materials have a very low, almost zero resistance.
They can be used in the manufacture of cables and batteries for power systems. But the problem is that all known superconductors are now established only at very low temperatures less than -163 ° C. Therefore, they must be cool and well insulated, which in itself is very expensive. You want to find those materials which superconductivity at higher temperatures. And it is the responsibility of quantum physics and its complex laws concerning the behavior of subatomic particles. Solving the problem is not the power of modern computers.
But scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a "quantum stimulant" — a computer system that will help researchers to plan and produce the stimulation of interactions between quantum particles and simply read the information on the results of these interactions. Thus it will be possible to compare the known superconductors with other materials and to search among them suitable.
Creating a unified model of all the laws and phenomena in physics
The Large Hadron Collider will link together all physical laws and phenomena
The Standard Model of elementary particle physics at the present time is the best system for understanding the behavior of subatomic particles of matter. However, it can not explain the phenomena of gravity and the expansion of the universe, what is happening with increasing speed. Creating a single model that will cover all known physical phenomena in nature, will be an outstanding breakthrough in science, comparable to the development of quantum theory. On the basis of quantum theory are now working lasers, microelectronics, quartz clock, made resistant to manipulation codes, that is, much of what even a thought until the theory has not been formulated.
How can the reality around us to deviate from the predictions of the standard model? The answer will appear after experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider — a giant particle accelerator. It works with more energy. It is a collision of particles — protons.
More promising is the collision of electrons and positrons, since in this experiment can be set and change the energy of each collision and learn more simple final state. However, these particles can disperse in a circle, as in this case, they will give their energy in all directions. This phenomenon is known as synchrotron radiation. The solution is obvious: to disperse them in a straight line using a linear accelerator. It is this facility to be built in the near future.
Its length is 50 kilometers. Build it may be in Japan, America, Switzerland and Russia.
Alzheimer on Petri dishes
Learn to treat Alzheimer's disease in the next 3-5 years
Currently in the world there are 26 million people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This is more than the entire population of Australia.
In the UK, 800,000 of these patients. It is expected that these figures will double by 2050. The cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no effective treatment. Patients can only slightly improve the quality of life. To study the disease need samples of brain tissue of a living person, but to get them, for obvious reasons, impossible. A set of animal experiments in this case is useless, because the only people affected by this ailment.
Therefore it is difficult to overestimate the importance of the work of two independent groups of researchers from Cambridge and the University of California. They were able to grow brain cells in the laboratory and observe the development of Alzheimer's disease directly to the petri dishes. We found out that the disease begins with the gradual accumulation of small cell abnormalities. Scientists taking skin cells of patients, patients were kind of stem cells are obtained which can be converted into any other, e.g. brain. They studied and the effect of various substances in order to find a means to stop disease progression. Researchers hope the successful completion of the project in the next three to five years.
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Dimming the stars will help detect extraterrestrial civilization …
Since 1995, when it was discovered the first star similar to the Sun with its surrounding planets — 51 Pegasi and its planet Bellerophon — astrophysicists began to study about 760 planets for the existence of civilization on them. It turns out that these planets from their suns are about the same distance as the Earth is from its star, receive far less from light and heat.
Astrophysicist, Professor Webster Cash, University of Colorado proposed device "blackout stars" — a special spacecraft that can obscure the light from the star, allowing the telescope's sensitive instruments to study any planet. This will allow light from the spectroscopic study of the planets to determine their chemical composition and the presence or absence of air. You can also find out if the planets surrounded by water vapor. The key biomarker, a substance that is telling of a life is oxygen. It's the researchers are trying to find.
The development of new engines for spacecraft
… And allow them to reach new engines for spacecraft
Launching a spacecraft to Earth orbit — a rather difficult task. Speed spacecraft thus should exceed 25 times the speed of sound. This requires a multi-whacker, having on board a large amount of fuel that an accidental explosion will resemble a small explosion of a nuclear bomb. In addition to this there is also the danger of financial problem. Such a mission is worth tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram load of a rocket. But this state of affairs will soon be changed.
In the British company Reaction Engines designed a reusable unmanned spacecraft Skylon, devoid of the disadvantages described above. The key to the success of this project is to develop a space engine SABRE whole new system, which can operate in two modes: reactive (gas turbine) engine and a rocket engine.
The main fuel for it is a hydrogen and an oxidant — oxygen. During takeoff and landing oxygen will flow to the engine directly from the atmosphere. And after the spacewalk stepped in internal tanks with an oxidizing agent. Today, the main components of the new engine has already been created and are preparing for extensive testing. If successful implementation of the project and the cost of removal of spacecraft to orbit the Earth in a decrease of 15-50 times. Maximum payload mass that can deliver into space Skylon, 12-15 tons to a height of 300 kilometers and 9.5-10.5 tonnes — to the height of 460 kilometers.
"Superwheat" feed the world's population
In order to feed the world's population, require agricultural land with an area of South America.
Scientists are trying to find more effective ways of getting food. Experts from the Wheat Yield Consortium (Consortium for wheat yield) believe that one solution to this problem is to take the "superwheat" modified plants to produce more edible biomass. The purpose of development — to increase productivity by 50% within 25 years. But how?
With the strengthening of the efficiency of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis — a process running in the plants for the formation of organic substances from water and carbon dioxide in the light with the participation of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll in plants and BChl bacteriorhodopsin bacteria). Will increase the efficiency of the process, affecting one of the enzymes responsible for the first step of photosynthesis — carbon fixation. There can be used as biochemical and genetic techniques. This project is still poorly funded, but the first experiments have already begun in Mexico.
Creation of safe nuclear power stations
Installation of safe nuclear fusion reactor ITER
In 1954 Obninsk was built the world's first nuclear power plant. Nuclear energy has since declared an inexhaustible energy source of the future. However, after the events at Chernobyl and "Fukushima" has become clear that such power plants are a great danger. In connection with this problem developed a project called ITER (ITER) — The world's largest fusion reactor being built in France now jointly the European Union, India, China, South Korea, Russia, the U.S. and Japan. ITER is much safer nuclear reactor radiation sense. The number of radioactive substances in it is relatively small.
The energy that can be released as a result of the accident, too small and can not lead to the destruction of the reactor. The reactor design is such that there are natural barriers to the spread of radioactive substances. However, the design of ITER paid much attention to radiation safety — both during normal operation and during possible accidents. The energy in it will be made in nuclear fusion of deuterium and tritium (isotopes of hydrogen with an extra neutron). This fuel is safe since it does not use a chain reaction occurs. As a result, there is no long-term radioactive contamination. Moreover, a lot of deuterium in seawater and easily tritium from lithium.
Machines that can edit DNA
The possibility of altering human DNA has long occupied the minds of scientists and physicians around the world. Since then it became aware of a variety of diseases depending on the sequence of the genome of a living organism, hosts many genetic, genetic engineering and biochemical research to develop treatments with changes to DNA. The beginning of many discoveries in biology associated with the bacteria. It's relatively easy being arranged, which represent many of the fundamental processes occurring in the human body. Already using them is the industrial synthesis of drugs. Microbes to serve man as he needs, scientists learned how to make the appropriate changes to their DNA.
However, such experiments require a lot of time, effort and expense, and not always successful.
In the near future, the U.S. corporation LS9 is going to provide the population with low-cost fuel, medicines, and maybe even food. All this is done in bioreactors based on cheap raw materials — various organic waste, wood chips and so on. One of the project leaders, George Church and colleagues developed a new approach to obtain the desired properties of microorganisms. A new technology called MAGE (Multiplexautomated genomic engineering), that is, "multiply-automated genomic engineering." At its core — a new device that could be called a "machine evolution."
It allows you to produce a bacterial DNA 50 changes at the same time, that is, an experiment to check the 50 variations. And when the choice is so large, it is easier and quicker to find what you need. Scientists are now searching for "fuel" of microbes that will synthesize various mixtures of hydrocarbons, similar in composition to automotive fuel. The first such experimental facility launched last year in San Francisco, and it already employs bacteria chemists first generation. Of sugar cane they produce hundreds of gallons of biofuel per week. This fuel is crystal clear, and consistent with international standards.
The developers believe that the principle of accelerated evolution of the machine allows to obtain such bacteria are modified to be in large quantity synthesized cheap nutrients and various drugs.
The Executive Director of the project LS9 Bill Haywood optimistically declares: "We heal the world." I'd like to believe that it will.