The search for alien life with next-generation telescopes, a self-healing heart capable of restarting itself, and safer roads with smarter cars are expected to feature as the some of the key scientific breakthroughs in the coming year.
Understanding more about how solar storms interact with the outermost part of Earth's environment, known as the foreshock, could refine space weather forecasts to predict their effects at a local level and help protect vital technology, according to Dr Lucile Turc, a space physicist at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Orbiting the sun from far beyond planet Neptune, the recently discovered planetoid Haumea is a fast-spinning elongated object, completing one rotation every four hours. Now, following fresh observations, astronomers have discovered this dwarf planet also has a ring system in orbit around it.
It's easy to picture a black hole as a kind of all-powerful cosmic drain, a sinkhole of super-strong gravity that snags and swallows passing nebulae or stars. While it is true we can’t observe matter once it crosses a black hole’s event horizon, scientists are zeroing in on what happens in the margins, where molecular clouds release vast amounts of energy as it circles the plughole.
Ancient black holes hidden away in deep space have left behind nuclear clues about the first-ever stars, according to Professor Raffaella Schneider from the Department of Physics of Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, who leads a team of stellar archaeologists.
To colonise the solar system we need to figure out how to build settlements on alien surfaces, and, according to Professor Matthias Sperl, a material scientist from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), our best bet rests on 3D-printed bricks made from moon dust.
Using off-the-shelf technology and innovative economics, lightweight helium balloons have started carrying remote-controlled laboratories to the edge of space and back, offering the business case for new types of science missions.
European researchers have used telescopes around the world to spot a cluster of seven planets orbiting a Jupiter-sized ultra-cool star 40 light-years from earth, increasing the chances of discovering evidence of life on distant worlds.
It has implications for autonomous technologies and human collaboration.
New lunar rock analysis provides fuller picture about the origin of water on the moon and on Earth.
We are entering a second era of lunar exploration, says ESA’s Dr David Parker.