The urge to know and understand things around us has existed since prehistoric times and led to the dawn of science which is the study of the physical world. For ages, scientists have, through observation and experimentation derived fundamental principles based on which technology has advanced manifold benefitting mankind by making life comfortable and convenient. Following are some of the latest amazing and mind-boggling discoveries that scientists have made.
Seemingly habitable planets:
Astronomers have discovered three Earth-size planets that could sustain life. Their study has revealed the existence of seven planets that revolve around a tiny star called TRAPPIST -1 outside our solar system, about 40 light years away. According to NASA, three out of the seven planets are in the habitable zone with the possible existence of water and extraterrestrial life.
Spray-on skin to alleviate ordeal of burn victims:
Biomedical scientists have developed a new device that can grow a new, healthy layer of skin in just four days. The device sprays stem cells on wounds to quickly form a new layer of skin. A biotech firm has acquired the patent for this game-changing device and has successfully treated dozens of burn patients during trials. Although the SkinGun awaits FDA approval, experts say it will help burn victims by eliminating the painful and scarring process of skin grafting.
A therapy to reverse ageing:
The process of ageing involves the build-up of senescent or damaged cells in our tissues which gives rise to age-related diseases. Scientists from the Netherlands have developed a molecule that expels such cells. They tried it on elderly mice and found that their fur regrew, kidney functions improved and they could run faster than untreated mice. This landmark breakthrough in the field of ageing will help to tackle the problem of degenerative diseases in future.
An eighth continent:
A new continent was discovered by scientists in the south-west Pacific beneath New Zealand. Named Zealandia, the land mass is 94 percent underwater, but meets all the necessary criteria required to be termed as Earth’s eighth continent.
An artificial womb:
In a path-breaking development, scientists successfully created an artificial womb which sustained as well as helped premature lambs to grow normally. The lambs grew inside the artificial womb which looked like an oversized plastic bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid. This artificial womb could one day help premature babies safely reach full term even outside their mother’s womb.
Gene editing in embryos:
Scientists in China have developed a gene editing tool that may remove disease-causing mutations in the DNA of human embryos. This technology is a boon to mankind as it could prevent babies from inheriting serious genetic diseases in future.