New Delhi: The year 2021 was a marvelous year for groundbreaking scientific research and a lot of important work was completed in the field of science, especially space exploration, astronomy, and biological research. The year was all about news such as the race for space tourism heating up to several commitments being made at the climate change conference in Glasgow.
Following is the list of the most interesting science news and research work completed in 2021:
1. Launch Of The Most Powerful Space Observatory Ever Built
2. Einstein’s Theory Of General Relativity Faced Its Toughest Test Yet
The study revealed new relativistic effects which have been observed for the first time.
3. Sun In A State Of Unrest
In early November, a strong G3 class geomagnetic storm occurred, which was triggered by the solar outbursts. This resulted in auroras in Earth’s lower latitudes.
The Sun’s state of unrest in 2021 is surprising because the star had a weaker solar cycle in the last decade, compared to the decade prior, according to a study by Indian scientists. This resulted in weaker solar storms or CMEs during solar cycle 24, which lasted from 2008 to 2019. Also, the Sun was the weakest in 2019.
4. Jeff Bezos’ Aerospace Firm Blue Origin Lost Case Against NASA
5. Space Tourism Race Heats Up
The year 2021 was an extremely important one for space tourism. A total of seven space tourism missions were completed. These included the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, which is the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit, and the Soyuz MS-20 mission, which marked the first self-funded space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in a decade.
William Shatner, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, became the oldest man to go to space in October.
Most interestingly, the first feature film was shot in space this year. A Russian film crew stayed aboard the ISS for 12 days to shoot parts of a film called ‘Vyozov’, meaning ‘The Challenge’.
6. Strange Radio Waves Emitted From Galactic Centre
One of the researchers said that the most unusual thing about the new signal is its “very high polarisation”, which means the light oscillates in only one direction, but that direction rotates with time.
The astronomers believe these unusual signals could suggest a new class of stellar object.
7. Commercial Space Station Plans Announced
8. Commitments Made At COP26 In Glasgow, Scotland
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP26, was held in Glasgow, Scotland in the United Kingdom from October 31 to November 12. Several commitments were made by the participating countries, including India. COP26 concluded with 197 countries agreeing to a new climate deal: the Glasgow Climate Pact, to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius alive and finalise the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Countries made collective commitments to curb methane emissions, align the finance sector with net-zero by 2050, to halt and reverse deforestation, ditch the internal combustion engine, accelerate the phase-out of coal, and end international financing for fossil fuels, to name a few.
In September, scientists from the Washington University in St. Louis found new evidence which supports the idea that America’s first civilisation was made up of “sophisticated engineers.” The evidence suggests that America’s early indigenous people or Native Americans were highly skilled engineers capable of building massive earthen structures in a few months, and sometimes, even weeks. One of the researchers claimed that these early earthworks have held together for more than 3000 years with no failure or major erosion.
One example is the Poverty Point World Heritage Site in Louisiana, US, which consists of 72-foot-tall earthen mounds and ridges constructed by hunter-gatherers around 3,400 years ago.
In 2020, scientists announced the discovery of a strange object that they had found by accident. This year, they found more about the object, which is a ‘brown dwarf’ nicknamed ‘The Accident’. The Accident, as it was found by sheer luck, is unique because it has no resemblance to the other brown dwarfs (over 2,000 of them) discovered so far in the Milky Way Galaxy.