If there is one constant in this world it is that science will always move forward. The talented people who are constantly looking to push boundaries will constantly make discoveries that can improve lives and enhance technology.
In recognition of this fact, we have put together a list of some of the top scientific discoveries made during the last five years for your perusal.
The Glass Storage Device
The average USB storage device isn’t really going to stretch too far beyond a couple of gigabytes before size starts becoming an issue. However, scientists at the University of Southampton, in the UK, created a data storage method that can hold a staggering 360 terabytes of data, while still fitting in the palm of your hand, in 2016.
The nano-structured glass device is about the size of an American quarter and can maintain its integrity in temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. Remarkably, if left at room temperature it is estimated that the device would work, on average, for 13.8 billion years. An ultrafast laser is used to write data to the device, with the data itself being red in five dimensions, taking into account the position of the nanostructured dots in the device, in addition to their size and orientation.
In 2015, scientists discovered a brand new human ancestor that has completely changed the way we look at human evolution. Dubbed Homo Nalendi, the fossils were found in a South African cave and bear remarkable similarities to Homo Sapiens. Through continued study of the fossils, it is likely that we will be able to learn even more about the origins of man and the evolutionary track that has brought us to where we are today.
Hydrogen Fuel Efficiency
Hydrogen has long been seen as a clean, alternative fuel source, however, its widespread use has always been held up by the sheer cost involved in creating it. That all changed in 2014 when scientists in Glasgow discovered a method for extracting hydrogen from water that is 30 times faster than previous methods.
Stored in a carbon-free liquid, which holds the hydrogen gas until it is needed, it is believed that hydrogen may someday be able to replace petroleum and other fossil fuels, providing a clean and abundant source of energy.
In 2016, scientists at Ohio State University built a small implant, which was implanted into the brain of a paraplegic man. With the help of a terminal that received signals, in addition to a sleeve device attached to the man’s arm, the implant was able to help the man move specific muscles in his arms based on his thoughts alone, as is the case with regular movement.
Interestingly, the device works in complete real-time and may prove revolutionary for paralyzed people. The person on whom the technology was tested was even able to play the Guitar Hero videogame with help from the implant.
Water on Mars
There has always been a suspicion that Mars could play host to lifeforms, and that appeared to be confirmed in September of 2015. That is when NASA found the strongest evidence of water on Mars, when it was able to detect perchlorates, which are water-logged molecules, in addition to observing natural structures that are likely to have been created as a result of free-flowing water on the planet.