A significant subset of ideas, discoveries, and breakthroughs push the limits of what is possible with technology each year. The ones that assist in resolving issues and overcoming obstacles that influence the environment or our daily lives are the most crucial.
The most significant advancements made in the last 12 months are highlighted in this list, and it will be discussed in this post how they are improving the world or have the potential to do so.
Here's a look at how new ideas to promote learning and innovation were unveiled to the world in 2022.
A Step Towards The Realization Of Nuclear Fusion
Nuclear fusion, the exact mechanism that drives the sun, is a source of energy that physicists have long predicted humanity will be able to harness. We made progress in 2022 when scientists at the National Ignition Facility revealed their successful efforts to produce "self-heating burning plasma" in a study they published. It is hoped that this development will eventually result in fusion reactors that are economically feasible and offer us a nearly endless, low-cost, and clean source of energy.
A plant that can mass-produce parts for the first commercial fusion reactors is being planned by the startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems in collaboration with MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center. The initial phase will be to build prototype machines that will be the first fusion-powered machines to produce net energy. After that, it is planned that full-scale fusion generator production would start, producing electricity that would be injected into national networks early in the following decade.
The Biggest Carbon Removal Facility In The World Debuts
The Orca is the most significant and potent plant of its kind; it is located close to Reykjavik, Iceland, and can remove 4,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. The carbon dioxide is drawn through filters, where it is combined with water and pumped into the earth, where natural processes finally change it into carbon minerals, or in other words, rocks. The building is powered by carbon-free energy produced at a nearby geothermal power plant. Four thousand metric tonnes may seem like a lot, but actually, it only amounts to 900 cars' worth of pollution. But the genius of Orca's design is that it is constructed using a modular system that can be quickly and inexpensively copied anywhere in the world. Orcas and other facilities of a similar nature may prove to be crucial weapons in our fight to contain the increase in global temperatures.
Before 2022, the majority of advances in space travel had been made in the "space tourism" sector, with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, both founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, successfully transporting paying passengers into space in 2021. Axiom-1 became the first privately sponsored crewed mission to dock with the International Space Station this year, possibly marking a more significant milestone (ISS). Three astronauts successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in April in a SpaceX-designed vehicle, and they stayed 16 days docked with the Harmony hub of the International Space Station. The Axiom-1 mission is viewed as being of utmost significance for the future of space travel because it is intended to be the first step toward establishing a privately funded and an operated space station that commercial enterprises will use to conduct their space research and development projects.
The Second-Biggest Cryptocurrency In The World Successfully Pursues Proof-of-Stake
The well-known Ethereum blockchain, which serves as a distributed computing platform and a cryptocurrency, successfully converted from a proof-of-work (PoW) model to a proof-of-stake model in 2022. (PoS). The Ethereum Foundation claims that by doing this, the network's overall energy consumption was lowered by 99.9%. This is crucial because the high energy consumption of blockchain networks has frequently been viewed as a barrier that needs to be overcome before the technology can reach its full potential. A blockchain is a distributed, decentralized database that uses encryption to keep several copies of the database synchronized, effectively making them tamper-proof. PoS and PoW are essentially two distinct ways of validating transactions on a blockchain. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies that use PoS algorithms are faster, meaning transactions will be processed more rapidly. Blockchain is touted as a potential solution for various issues, including developing new monetary systems, decentralized autonomous organizations, and new digital communities (DAOs). Successfully managing the transition of a blockchain used by millions of people is one step toward demonstrating the viability of the underlying technology.
Paxlovid: A Covid Pill
Vaccines have significantly decreased the risk of dying from COVID-19, but they are only partially effective against new variants and cannot be given to someone who has tested positive. Even when administered after infection, the drug Pfizer designed as a "cure" at the beginning of the year has shown effectiveness in lowering the likelihood that a patient will experience severe symptoms. According to preliminary research, they reportedly cut the chance of hospitalization by 89%. The medication functions by impeding the virus's capacity to multiply within the body, effectively by building a barrier surrounding the cells. The standards were significantly twisted to include the medicine in this list even though it was approved for usage in December 2021. Still, they weren't used in general healthcare until early 2022. More recent research indicates that it might even help treateaseasing the symptoms of long-term COVID, which until recently frequently appeared to be incurable.
Months of study, testing, discussion, and the argument went into the list's creation. It honors fascinating discoveries enhancing our lives in both significant and subtle ways. These advancements and finds not only help us learn more about the nature of the cosmos and cure diseases, but they also provide us with more environmentally friendly and efficient ways to live.
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