Science in 2012: 5 impressive achievements
Space exploration and travel into the deepest abyss of the ocean, medical victories and extraordinary experiments in particle physics, amazing astronomical discoveries and descriptions of new species of creatures – in 2012 has had its moments of triumph scientifically rewarding, records and spectacular events. Among many such successful and important, here 10, each representative in his way.
1 On August 6, 2012, the complex mobile laboratory launched by NASA Curiosity Mars exploration well reached its destination. It was a great moment, the crown years of hard work and it’s no wonder that emotions were very intense; so intense that, anticipating them, the scientists involved in the project were baptized with a name very evocative – “the seven minutes of terror” – those moments very risky space vehicle, entering the Martian atmosphere, had to descend to the ground Red Planet. It was the riskiest moment of the mission, seven minutes the probability that something will go wrong, undermining the work of many years, was higher than at any time during the mission. But everything went great, trajectory calculations proved correct adjustment systems and steering gear worked perfectly, and Curiosity has landed gracefully, instead of the expected fixed – Gale Crater – and, shortly afterwards, the and submitted the first images of the spot. Video which shows the experts involved in the project showed his relief and joy in the face of this success – shouts, laughter, hugs, even tears on the faces of grown men, serious and competent experts – will always remain among the most exciting images from the history of science.
2 Excited must have been specialists in charge of the project Voyager 1 and lurk blown when this probe, launched in 1977, the subject made by man to reach the farthest from Earth – our system will exit solar and step into infinity beyond – into interstellar space. The data received from the probe indicates that the time is approaching; do not know exactly when it will happen, especially since it’s one last frontier to be lax and enormous, not a clearly drawn line, but still, there are signs that something has changed: the influence of interstellar space is increasingly felt, while the radiation from the solar system fades. In the meantime, Voyager came in now in a mysterious area, which scientists did not know that there is – a region that has been dubbed “magnetic highway.” And Voyager 1’s journey continues to the edge of the solar system and beyond, to the vastness of interstellar space
3 It seems incredible that here on our planet, there are things just as little known as mysterious as outer space. But it is, and the depths of the ocean are among the most enigmatic and disturbing locations. Sinking successful filmmaker James Cameron, with a revolutionary vehicle in the deepest place in the world under water – Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific – is an important moment in the history of underwater exploration. Although not a first – a manned submarine another vehicle arrived there half a century ago – and did not bring material samples that were all waiting (due to collection system failure), sinking Cameron performed is very important in terms of science and technology, especially since the previous dive conducted to test vehicle Deepsea Challenger, which conducted exploration, scientifical results produced remarkable new species were identified living beings and made geological discoveries of great importance.
4 In an experiment prepared for years, often announced and often delayed, but ultimately failed, Austrian Felix Baumgartner entered the history books by becoming the first man managed to jump from the stratosphere (from an altitude of 39,045 meters) and falling to exceed the speed of sound without using any vehicle, reaching alive and well on Earth. The maximum speed reached by Baumgartner during free fall was 1342.8 km / h (Mach 1.24), a new world record. If we include his performance through scientific achievements of 2012 – although it seems more like a sports record – is that sport today generally involves a lot of science and a performance like that of Baumgartner, especially n would have been possible without the contribution of scientists. Preparing to jump and success involved in overwhelmingly knowledge in various aspects.
5 decades scientific world waiting confirmation of Higgs boson enigmatic, so mysterious and hard to detect that scientists hopeful or frustrated (or both:) I “caress” the nickname God particle. The existence of this particle, whose confirmation would finally provide a satisfactory explanation for the fundamental phenomena of the existence of matter and the formation of the universe, was predicted theoretically since the 60s and this year at CERN experiments have brought us closer than ever to confirm that it exists. But the results were not devoid of surprises; as when waiting impatiently birth of a baby and wake up with twins without being prepared for it, researchers at CERN who managed to discover much sought particle, the Higgs boson, has announced that it may be found, in fact two different particles. The data seem to indicate that it’s about two Higgs bosons, which have a mass very similar, yet different. Unpublished results – which have not been confirmed yet – emerged after scientists noticed an unusual pattern in the original data, which showed that the boson, decaying, producing more than 2 photons should, according to theory. Still working on clarifying the phenomenon and confirm the results.