Top 10 Science Discoveries in 2023: From Finding Six New Worlds to Knowing TRex Has Lips

In 2023, many significant discoveries, clinical trials and historic space missions were made that could shape the future of man on Earth and beyond. From India’s landmark Chandrayaan-3 mission to finding ‘life ingredients’ in deep, cold space to conducting the first-of-its-kind study to show that humans can reproduce in space, scientists and researchers are racing across time and space to to unravel the infinite mysteries of the universe.

India made history when its Chandrayaan-3 lander successfully landed on the South Pole of the Moon, making it the first country to achieve the historic feat. Here’s a look at other top 10 breakthrough moments in scientific discovery and invention:

1. Can humans reproduce in space? For the first time, researchers have successfully grown mouse embryos aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Japanese researchers said in October 2023 that mouse embryos were grown on the ISS and “developed normally in the first study showing that it is possible for humans to reproduce in space.”

2. The mice with two daddies: In an important milestone in reproductive biology, scientists have created mice with two biologically male parents for the first time. This study “raises the possibility of bipaternal breeding,” the study said. Put simply, the research raises the possibility that one day same-sex couples may have a baby that shares the genes of both parents, CNN reported.

3. Heavenly Cornerstone: Scientists discovered six new worlds. With six exoplanets – HD 36384 b, TOI-198 b, TOI-2095 b, TOI-2095 c, TOI-4860 b and MWC 758 c – the scientists tipped the scales and surpassed the 5,500 exoplanets found. To be exact, there are now 5,502 known exoplanets.

4. Weak hum of gravitational waves: Scientists have detected low-frequency gravitational waves reverberating through the universe for the first time. These waves are created when huge objects in the universe move and collide in space. They stretch and compress spacetime as they travel through space, a Reuters report explained.

5. A mind reading device? According to a new study published in Nature Neuroscience, a model trained on functional magnetic resonance imaging scans of three volunteers was able to predict entire sentences they heard with surprising accuracy—just by looking at their brain activity, MIT Technology Review reports.

“Given new brain recordings, this decoder generates comprehensible word sequences that recover meaning from perceived speech, imagined speech, and even silent videos, demonstrating that a single decoder can be applied to a range of tasks,” the study says . The findings point to the need for future policies to protect our brain data, the team said.

6. Did TRex have lips? A new study suggests that Tyrannosaurus rex and other carnivorous dinosaurs did not resemble crocodiles. They probably had lips that covered their teeth, “like today’s lizards,” says a study published in the journal Science.

7. Life ingredients found on asteroids? In October, NASA revealed the secrets of a sample of an asteroid that landed on Earth this year. The US space agency studied the 4.5-billion-year-old Bennu asteroid sample collected in space and found evidence of high carbon and water content. Together, these “could mean that the building blocks of life on Earth may reside in the rock,” NASA said.

8. Is life possible on Saturn’s moon? Scientists have found evidence that suggests Saturn’s moon may be capable of supporting life. This year, scientists said they discovered phosphorus in the ocean of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. Along with carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, this sixth element is essential for sustaining life.

9. Therapy for Sickle Cell Anemia: In a world first, the UK medical regulator has approved a therapy that uses the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tool as a treatment, Nature reported. The therapy, called Casgevy, will treat the blood conditions sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia. Later, Casgevy also became the first USFDA-approved therapy using CRISPR/Cas9.

10. The first tomatoes in Lost in Space: Two tomatoes, the first grown in space aboard the ISS, disappeared earlier this year. The astronaut who grew them is accused of eating those tomatoes. Months later, the ISS crew found the remains of those tomatoes. See the full story of Lost Tomatoes here.

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