Though last year carried the weight in science news relating to the novel coronavirus, there were several other fascinating scientific breakthroughs from 2021. For the next several years to come, and with furthered advancements, we will hear more about some of these findings and begin to learn as much as we can as they contribute to modern-day society. Here are some of the highlights!
Artificial Titanium Heart
Each year, an estimated 17.9 million people fall victim to cardiovascular diseases, which doubles as the leading cause of death around the globe. For roughly 50 years, scientists worked tirelessly to create an effective artificial heart, and that day is here.
An Australian-based research team built BiVACOR, a titanium heart that works with spinning disc technology. This makes waves in medical technology advancements and pairs well with things like the Bluetooth-powered pacemaker and improvements in telehealth.
New Discoveries on Mars
One of the most fascinating scientific breakthroughs of 2021 is the test to see if humans can fly in a Martian atmosphere. Additionally, three separate missions landed on Mars in February 2021 to take advantage of the Earth-Mars alignment that only occurs every 26 months.
NASA’s Perseverance will travel across the Jezero Crater and drill and collect rock samples for the next few years. The samples will come through a cache via a Sample Return, which is still in the planning process.
James Webb Telescope Launch
In December, the most advanced and largest telescope launched into space. The James Webb Telescope will spend the next few decades tracking Earth’s orbit around the sun. It will also be able to perform duties the Hubble could not and can now see segments of the universe that were otherwise out of reach.
With these advances, humans can see a glimpse of life in space, including the birth of stars, formations of galaxies, and the possibility of life on another planet.
Malaria Vaccination for Children
Over half of all malaria deaths annually occurs in children younger than five. In October, the WHO approved the first-ever vaccine for kids, which is also the first anti-parasitic vaccine.
The vaccine requires a series of four administrations and fights against five of the deadliest malaria pathogens. This breakthrough in science could prevent up to five million cases per year.