“The Next Year Ahead 2018” read the cover of the November issue of a magazine. Like this one, many magazines would like to guess the future. The next year we will see how it went and how many people got it right or not. It is incredible how societies do all kind guessing year after year, after year.
I think for next year, we will see many magazines with forecasts more on the optimistic side than on the pessimistic one. I am looking for that; in spite of creepy, disquieting, nervous, distressing, disturbing, fraught, hairy, nail-biting, nerve-racking, restless, tense, disheartening, uneasy, unnerving, unsettling and worrisome past events.
But what happened in 2017? Besides all the catastrophes, crazies with weapons of mass destruction, political conflicts, and bad attitudes; we can look to some of the Science and Technology main news from the last eleven months. Science and Technology are key factors for a favorable economy, happiness and foreseeable future.
Let’s have a tiny retrospective of some of the events of the year; beginning with the Eclipse of 2017 in the United States. It was special because it crossed the whole northern part of the country. I saw it in the most serendipitous way. I wrote about it, in detail, in a memoir titled; “Then You Saw It, Now Who Knows?”
Talking about the Moon, there had been interesting updates like; the moon is at least 4.51 billion years old, up to 150 million years older than previous estimates. We will continue to learn about our natural satellite. We will keep going there, not for the sake of going, but because it has precious substances for earthlings; for starters water and helium; but there is much more.
Scientists have created a new form of hydrogen at temperature near absolute zero. Also there is now something called negative effective inertial mass. With these innovations, new paradigms in communications and transportation will be reached.
The unthinkable for the 60’s! There are reusable drone-ships going to space. That means that designs and materials have endured the forces of getting out of space and returning to earth several times! The costs of any spaceship are down. Nice!
Not only United States, but several countries are in the space race with very good results. The United Arab Emirates announced at the World Government Summit that its planned passenger drop will begin operations soon. Indian Space Research Organization launched a record 104 satellites in single mission. A 3D-printed Electron rocket from New Zealand was launched.
With prices down, let’s have fun! SpaceX announced that it will take two space tourists on an orbit of the Moon in 2018. U. S. Congress passed a bill that mandates NASA send humans to Mars by 2033.
Not everything was flakes and honey. For example; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves The Doomsday Clock thirty-seconds forward, to two and a half minutes before midnight. The Doomsday Clock is intended to reflect basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age. Negative attitudes was the culprit of this movement.
Let’s talk about The Biosphere, or in other words, the place on Earth’s surface where life dwells. I love frogs, they are our advisors of life. If there are frogs around you, that means that your ecosystem is balanced for human life. The news this year were optimistic. Endangered species of frogs have been located and captured for the first time since 1962. Several new species of tiny frogs from India were discovered, scientists announced plans to breed them! I was so optimistic, not so fast, other favorite things went really down.
Coral bleaching had a second consecutive year destroying two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkeling had been in my life for many years; I have seen an accelerated extinction in many sites. So sad!
Returning to the bright side, other favorites for me are the wolves. I had 2 Huskies when I was in my 30’s. They have the closest DNA to wolves. We loved each other with passion, our love lasted around a decade; this year, the news for wolves was optimistic. Gray wolves have returned in Denmark and in the United States, balancing entire ecosystems!
Beautiful Bison was successfully introduced to the Banff National Park in Alberta Canada more than 100 years after they were nearly hunted out of existence.
More humans?! In other news, NASA and the European Southern Observatory announced the discovery of four new Earth-like planets! The Universe is vast!
Social Media, another favorite, is bringing people close together; Facebook, Inc. announced that its social media service now has 2 billion regular users, more than a quarter of the world’s population! Twitter, has 328 million users. Other sites are also very popular; and we have a driving commerce force in the internet, that means; less paper in general, less transportation to get items. Thanks to online transactions! That is being sustainable!
A bad side, and totally scary was when a temperature of 128.7°F was recorded near the Persian Gulf; the highest ever recorded on Earth. Large parts of Southern Asia may be uninhabitable by 2100 due to levels of humidity dangerous to humans.
Will societies surpass everything? If we can survive a trip to Mars, we can survive everything on Earth. Even with all our difficulties, in my opinion, we are capable of taking care of our beautiful planet. The year behind 2017, had everything, as expected. 2018 is on the bets of many. If you ask for my forecast; I will say that human resilience is going to be tested again. Courage will be on scenes with surprising results; and hope will be dancing for future generations in sweet notes. Science and Technology will helps us prevent, combat and avoid disasters, calamities, tragedies and extinctions; They will gave us forms to check and balance ideologies and behaviors. Science and Technology are tools to help mankind in the future, in the present, and were in the past. Above all, our future it’s a matter of attitude.