The Most Insane Scientific Discoveries
What a time to be alive! Each year, science advances at an alarming pace, and some scientific breakthroughs are so crazy that many people find them controversial. In the past decade, scientists have made many incredible discoveries, including a black hole that’s 12 billion times as big as the sun, Superman’s kryptonite, artificial wombs and lab-made viruses that could lead to human extinction if unleashed.
Some of these scientific finds are cool, and some are scary, but all of them are mind-blowing. Read on to uncover the truth of the most insane scientific discoveries.
Artificial Wombs to Grow Babies
Recently, scientists successfully grew eight baby sheep using artificials wombs. The wombs looked like giant Ziploc bags attached to tubes of blood and fluid. Within four weeks, the lambs developed wool coats, grew organs, opened their eyes for the first time and moved around inside the wombs..
One of the Oldest Paintings in the World
The Sulawesi cave art in Indonesia was once believed to be 35,000 years old, but in 2014, scientists adjusted the age to 39,900 years old. It’s the second oldest art structure in the world, after the 41,000-year-old drawing on a cave wall at El Castillo in Spain.
Full Face Transplants
Kidneys, livers and hearts account for the majority of transplanted organs since the 1950s. Few people have even heard of face transplants. Wearing someone else’s face may sound unusual — and creepy — but it’s a beneficial procedure for patients with faces damaged by burns, disease, trauma or birth defects.
More Habitable Planets
NASA scientists got more than a little excited after finding TRAPPIST-1, a close solar system with seven globes orbiting a star. Located in the "Goldilocks Zone," the planets appear to be similar to our own rocky home, Earth. This means they may support liquid water and living organisms.
Almost 114,000 patients in the U.S. are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Unfortunately, a shortage of available human organs means the list just keeps growing. In an attempt to save more lives, scientists want to transplant pig organs into some patients.
Sci-fi movies are getting more real than ever before. Having false memories is common, but implanting fake memories or wiping out memories is not. But it could be done, thanks to two neuroscientists who altered the mind of a mouse in 2014. Terrifying, right?
Unknown Signals from Space
In 2007, scientists received weird signals from deep space. They called these messages fast radio bursts (FRB), and some came from 7.9 billion light-years away. More than a decade later, they are still scratching their heads in confusion, unable to identify the source of the signals.
A Cure for Hereditary Blindness
Leber congenital amaurosis is a form of hereditary blindness that occurs at birth or at a young age. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the lives of patients with the condition by approving the first gene therapy to cure the disease.
Computer Chips Thinking Like Human Brains
In 2014, scientists developed a computer chip with 5.4 billion transistors that was the size of a postage stamp. The unique chip was designed to mimic all the functions of a human brain, including awareness and memory functions. One scientist, Dharmendra Modha, wants the world to imagine a chip-enabled phone that could understand where it is, who it’s communicating with and what it’s doing.
Scientists Make Doomsday Bird Flu Virus
Some scientific experiments end up being extremely dangerous. For instance, in 2011, Dutch researchers created an Armageddon bird flu virus in a university laboratory. The researchers thought about sharing the information from the experiment, but the U.S. government quickly put a stop to it and asked the scientists to keep the research details a secret.
Control Mechanical Hands with Your Mind
Pierpaolo Petruzziello lost his arm in a car crash, but it didn’t bother him quite as much after he gained a robotic arm in 2009. And it wasn’t just any robotic arm. It was a biomechanical arm that Petruzziello controlled with his mind, much like something straight out of a Marvel movie.
City-Killer Asteroid Almost Hit Earth
Generally, astronomers track asteroids weeks in advance, but occasionally one slips under their radar. In July 2019, researchers realized an asteroid was coming straight toward Earth. They noticed the asteroid only a few days before it would have struck the planet — luckily, it missed.
When you imagine construction crews, you probably think of workers wearing hard hats and reflective vests. Chances are you never thought of robot termites launching construction careers, but there’s a first for everything. Harvard researchers created termite robots that can autonomously build complex structures without supervision or predetermined roles.
Robotic Insect Weapons
Nanoweapons sound like something from a Black Mirror episode, but the military is trying to make war robots the size of insects a reality. In fact, the U.S., Russia and China have invested billions of dollars in nanoweapon research. It’s even more terrifying to think these small weapons could actually destroy the world.
Growing Organs with Stem Cells
Stem cells can turn into many different cells in the body, from white blood cells to nerve cells. These versatile cells have been used to treat many cancers and diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and myeloma. Stem cells have also been used to grow human organs.
The story of Atlantis may be a myth, but a sunken mass of land actually exists. In fact, it’s another continent that has existed on Earth all along. About 60 to 85 million years ago, a massive piece of continental crust broke off from Australia. Scientists call this lost continent Zealandia. Today, that land is almost completely submerged beneath New Zealand.
Elon Musk, the famous CEO of Tesla, Inc., and SpaceX, sent a $100,000 Tesla into space in 2018, and that car is still cruising the solar system. One of the biggest SpaceX projects in the works is reusable rockets.
Kryptonite Is Real
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we want to point out that this mineral doesn’t glow. It’s not green, and it’s not even radioactive. So why are scientists saying they’ve found kryptonite, the famous crystal that weakens Superman? Researchers found a strange mineral in Serbia and couldn’t identify it, so they passed it on to mineral expert Chris Stanley.
A Black Hole 12 Billion Times Bigger Than the Sun
If you thought the sun is enormous, you should check out SDSS J0100+2802, the largest and brightest black hole ever found. This space monstrosity is 12 billion times bigger than the sun and as bright as 420 trillion suns.
The robot surgeon will see you now. It’s not as futuristic as it sounds. Robot surgeons are popping up in the healthcare industry, but don’t be alarmed. Humans still supervise the bots. In fact, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) performs operations with 40% human assistance.
Implanting Microchips in Humans
Would it be awesome — or just creepy — if you could track people? It looks like that world is coming closer to reality. In 2017, the technology company Three Square Market microchipped its employees. The microchips were implanted under the skin of their hands, between their forefingers and thumbs.
Liquid Water on Mars
Scientists have debated for a long time whether water ever existed on Mars. Some scientists who believe that Mars supported water also think the water turned into ice. In 2018, a frozen lake that may contain liquid water was discovered, blowing everyone’s minds.
3D Bioprinting Human Skin
You know the future has arrived when you can print skin on 3D printers. Patients suffering from burns or wounds can print skin directly on top of the injury. Another great part is that the printers can also be mobile.
"Evil Twin" in the Brain
Yamini Karanam began having difficulty understanding basic information and communicating with friends and colleagues at the age of 26. She was also tired all the time and once slept for two weeks without waking up. Doctors detected a tumor in her brain, but they had no idea what they would find when they performed surgery to remove it.
New Human Organ
It’s not a new lung or an extra heart, but it’s a new organ just under the skin that you never knew was there. Researchers from New York University's School of Medicine identified the new organ in 2018, calling it the interstitium.
Genetically Modified Babies
In 2018, Chinese scientists created two genetically modified babies. A third DNA-altered baby is due in 2019. The scientists edited their genes while the babies were only tiny embryos. These infants are healthy so far, which was the initial goal.
Teleporting Photons into Space
You’ve heard it before: "Teleportation isn’t real." That statement is now false, thanks to Chinese scientists who teleported the first object from Earth into space. No, they didn’t beam a human into the universe (yet), but the scientists successfully sent photons to a satellite orbiting Earth.
Nanomachines That Deliver Drugs
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego developed nanorobots for common medical uses, like drug delivery. The tiny bots swim to different areas of the human body and inject medicine wherever it’s needed. They can even travel through the body’s narrowest capillaries.
Cure Cancer with Your Own Cells
What if your own cells could fight and cure cancer? This treatment became a reality when scientists took out a patient’s cells, modified them and returned them to the body. The test discovered these engineered cells went after cancer cells.
Baby with DNA of Three Parents
What could go wrong with a three-parent baby? Some experts find the technique controversial. However, it’s intended to help adults who want to have children but carry genes for dangerous diseases. In 2013, experts successfully created a three-parent embryo.