Polar projects, crunching of the collider or planning for plan S. These are some of the scientific challenges that he has publishedto Nature magazine for the next year 2019.
In January, researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom will descend to Antarctica to begin their largest joint mission in the continent in more than 70 years, understand if the Thwaites glacier will begin to collapse in the coming decades. Later, European scientists plan to start pierce the ice sheet in the Little Dome C of Antarctica in a search to recover an ice core of 1.5 million years, which could be the oldest pristine record of climate and weather conditions.
With 2019 you can see the first experiments that are explicitly aimed at understanding how to artificially cool the planet using a practice called solar geoengineering, with which the researchers plan to spray particles that reflect sunlight into the stratosphere, an approach that could be used to rapidly lower the planet's temperature.
With all the advances that will come in 2019, subscription journals could change their business models to adapt to Plan S, an initiative to turn academic publications into a totally open access model, a system that many journals currently prohibit.
2019 could also be a decisive year for plans to build the International Linear Collider (ILC), the successor of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva (Switzerland). Physicists in Japan proposed to host this project in 2012, after scientists from the LHC announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, which would be studied in detail by the new instrument. But a 2018 report commissioned by the Japanese government dismissed the project because of its enormous cost (approximately 7,000 million dollars), but Japan is the only country that has shown interest in hosting the ILC. The government is expected to issue a statement on whether it will do so before March 7.
The World Health Organization expects finish an important revision in his Biosafety Manual in the laboratory in mid-2019. The rethinking aims to dissuade laboratories from approaching biosecurity routinely, and encourage the creation of more flexible and effective procedures.
China would greatly advance
For its part, China could emerge as the largest research and development spending company in the world, after adjusting the purchasing power of its currency, once the countries publish their 2018 expenditure data at the end of 2019. In Europe, officials will try to reach an agreement on how to disburse the proposed one hundred billion euros ( 110 billion dollars) through the next research funding program of the European Union, Horizon Europe, which begins in 2021.
Within the framework of human origins, ongoing excavations could reveal more about the first human inhabitants of the Philippine island of Luzon, even if its isolation led to a diminutive stature, similar to what seems to have occurred in Flores.
In the field of astronomy, it will stand out the largest radio telescope in the world, the 500 meter Aperture Radio Telescope in China (FAST), which should be fully operational and available to researchers beginning in September. Since the beginning of its commissioning phase in 2016, the mega telescope has detected more than 50 new pulsars: dense and rapidly rotating dead stars. Soon it will look for the weak signals that emerge from phenomena such as the rapid explosions of radio and the clouds of cosmic gas.
On the other hand, researchers in Canada should start to see the first results of a series of Studies on the cultivation and basic biology of cannabis. Last October, Canada legalized the plant for all uses, and by the end of 2019, researchers from the University of Guelph hope to launch the first academic center devoted to cannabis research in Canada, from its genetics to its benefits.
Geneticists will also continue to grapple with the repercussions of He Jiankui's claim to have helped produce the world's first genetically engineered babies, and in this way, scientists will try to discover any potential side effects of the process and create a framework to ensure that any future effort to edit hereditary human DNA is done in a responsible and regulated manner.