science milky way stars

Image credit: Pixabay/Free-photos

Science: What to expect in 2019

2018 was an exciting year: from cloning monkeys to treating muscular dystrophy.

science milky way stars

Image credit: Pixabay/Free-photos

Not only could scientists help a paraplegic walk again, but we also witnessed the birth of a planet as it emerged from the disk of gas surrounding its host star, approximately 370 light years from Earth.

With any luck, 2019 will be just as exciting. A few experts gave their predictions for the upcoming year and what we could look forward to. From digging for fossils to exploring Mars, let’s see what’s in store.

Understanding human origins

Experts believe that more fossils will be unearthed from the islands in Southeast Asia, fossils that would shed some light on the origins of ancient hominin species.

Archaeologists have set their sights on the cluster of islands ever since fossils of a “human-like hobbit species” was discovered there more than a decade ago. Future digs are planned for the Philipine island of Luzon and could reveal more about the first human inhabitants of the area.

Climate control

With climate change making headlines and carbon emissions continuing to rise, scientists might initiate experiments on how to artificially cool the planet utilising solar geoengineering.

As reported by Nature: “Scientists behind the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) hope to spray 100-gram plumes of chalk-like particles into the stratosphere to observe how they disperse. Such particles could eventually cool the planet by reflecting some of the Sun’s rays back into space.”

Cannabis research

2018 saw an increase in the research pertaining to the cultivation and basic biology of cannabis. The research team at the University of Guelph plans to launch Canada’s “first dedicated centre for cannabis research” with the aim of studying the plant’s health benefits.

Meanwhile, the International Cannabinoid Research Society’s 29th annual symposium is planned for June and July at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference centre and call for Abstracts will open on 1 January 2019.

Advancement in planetary science

According to Bruce Betts, the chief scientist for The Planetary Society, 2019 will see significant advancements in the field. A probe called New Horizons will set sail, so to speak, on 1 January to probe a small trans-Neptunian object named Ultima Thule.

The society also plans on studying marsquakes, which will enable the team to understand the interior and evolution of the planet better. Mars InSight landed on the planet in November, and a science system engineer on the team, Elizabeth Barrett, explained:

“Mars has so many missions that have been able to explore the exterior by orbiting or by roving around on the surface. InSight is going to be that first mission that will look further into the interior.”


We’re getting robots, people. A researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kate Darling, predicts that robots will bring their skills into new areas: “workplaces, households, and public spaces.” She added:

“So machines that can think, make autonomous decisions and learn will be interacting with us. Research shows that we subconsciously treat robots like living things, even though we know they’re just machines.”

So basically, our understanding of space will deepen, we might fix climate change, we’ll better understand the benefits of smoking weed, but the rise of machines is inevitable. You heard it here first.