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The Milky Way Times

2016 overview – top tech & science news

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW! Virtual reality, robots, 3D printing, antiaging therapies, clean energy, soft landing rockets, this is not the year 3000, this is the year 2017 and you are reading the latest issue of the Milky Way times!

SOCIAL VIRTUAL REALITY: WELCOME TO THE FUTURE

Social VR, recently revealed by Facebook, enables you to meet real people as virtual avatars with real emotions and real hand gestures in a virtual world. What’s more, you can pick up a virtual phone and call your real friend on his real phone, and he appears in the virtual world next to you on the giant screen of that virtual phone.

Then, you can grab a virtual selfie stick and take a photo of both of your virtual avatar and your real friend on a virtual phone, then choose the best photo that appeared on the virtual table, click a virtual button and post it to your virtual social network in the real world. Yes, I’m also starting to lose track of the boundaries between the real world and the virtual one.

FIRST ROCKET BOOSTER LANDING ON A DRONE SHIP

An important breakthrough in rocketry. Private space company SpaceX managed to land a first stage booster (the part that propells the spacecraft and is destroyed afterwards) of their Falcon 9 rocket on an unmanned sea barge and recollect it.

The rocket booster is the most expensive part of a space flight and it’s not reusable. When we are able to reuse boosters, spaceflights can get 10x cheaper. The next step for SpaceX will be testing how many times their rockets can be used before breaking.

ANTI-AGING DRUG HUMAN TRIALS APPROVED
So far, aging is not considered as a treatable disease by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration – USA). Nevertheless, the agency’s employees must have been incredibly excited when a drug called metformin, widely used to treat dieabetes, surprisingly extended the lifespan of laboratory mice and worms by up to 40%.

FDA now allowed researchers to try replicating the anti-aging effect of metformin in people. The first human trials ever of a potential drug against aging will start in winter 2016.   telegraph.co.uk

3D PRINTED FOOD

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PROGRAMMABLE MAGNETS

By printing miniature north and south poles, (aka “maxels”) onto the surface of conventional magnets, scientists from Polymagnet® managed to create new, unique types of magnets with properties never seen before.

While normal magnets can only attract or repel, the new types are capable of locking in a specific angle or distance, thus creating a latch or an even more complex contraption. You can even get a magnetic landscape/portrait holder for your phone!

FIRST ANTI-AGING GENE THERAPY SUCCESFUL

An incredible breakthrough in medicine! Liz Parish, CEO of a biotech company BioViva, is the first human patient who recieved a revolutionary anti-aging gene therapy. In a secret location in Colombia, a team of doctors injected her blood with a virus carrying specific genetic code which succesfully altered the DNA of her white blood cells.

It lengthened their telomeres – the protective caps of chromosomes which break away as we age – making them effectively younger. The rest of her DNA remained unchanged. This therapy brings untold opportunities for preventing aging-related diseases like cancer and maybe even death itself.

FLEETS OF SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS IN EUROPE

This is the future of transport! Fleets of trucks connected by Wi-Fi travelled thousands of kilometres on European highways in self-driving mode. Thanks to synchronization, the trucks could stay closer together, saving up to 15% of fuel. They were developed by Volvo, Daimler and other manufacturers for the European Truck Platooning Challenge.

The best fleet travelled over 2,000 km through 5 countries. Even though human drivers took control on local roads, most of the distance was on highways and computer-controlled. I’m sure thousands of drivers passed by having no idea they were actually driving next to the first ever robotic trucks.   qz.com

END OF FOOD?
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EINSTEIN WAS RIGHT: GRAVITY MAKES WAVES

gravity waves

Scientists from the LIGO project confirmed the first ever detection of gravitational waves coming from outer space… predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago… from the merge of two black holes over a billion lightyears away… the waves travelled for over a billion years at the speed of light… two detectors on opposite sides of the US both L-shaped 3km long arms

The rocket booster is the most expensive part of a space flight. The problem is we cannot land it and use it again, instead they are left to crash into the ocean. When we are able to reuse boosters, spaceflights can get 10x cheaper.

URINE TURNED TO WATER
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EXCITING PREDICTIONS MADE IN 2016

  • Elon Musk: You will be able to summon your Tesla car from wherever it is by 2018
  • Human trials of nanobots in blood – 2019
  • James Webb space telescope finished and deployed 1.5 million kilometers from Earth – 2018
  • New fusion reactor in China backed by Bill Gates – 2024
  • NASA Hopes to Hand the International Space Station to a Commercial Owner by Mid-2020s
  • Ford to Ship Self-Driving Cars Without Steering Wheels, Brake, or Gas Pedals by 2021
  • Netherlands Looks to Ban All Gas, Diesel Car Sales by 2025

Thanks for reading Milky Way Times 2016 issue*!

It’s incredible how fast the technological and scientific progress has been accelerating over the course of the past few years. It looks like the humanity is advancing forward and that makes us feel happy and optimistic about our future.

We simply have to share all those amazing breakthroughs and discoveries! That’s why we started this site. The 2016 issue is literally packed with great news. Now imagine the issues for 2017, 2018, 2019… 2029… 2075… 2525?

*As the year 2016 isn’t over yet, this issue is getting updated regularly. Check back in a month or so!

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Advancements in Space Research

SpaceX built on their success from the last year (first locket landing on ground) – and made a couple of landings on a drone ship. New James Webb space telescope is being built and will soon be placed 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. USA introduced a revolutionary asteroid mining law, enabling anyone to harvest resources from space and make profit.

Advancements in AI

It’s likely that nothing will beat Google’s grand achievement – beating the best human player in the board game of Go, shocking top computer scientists. However, Go isn’t the only interesting breakthrough in artificial intelligence this year – self driving cars are on the rise, deep neural networks show amazing progress in image recognition, and a lot of work has taken place in robotics.

Advancements in Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift was released onto the market but is facing tough comptetition from HTC Vive. Do something, Facebook! (They own Oculus.) Fove is announced, the first VR headset with eye tracking. That opens up numerous possibilities for VR. People are increasingly using VR not only for gaming but also as a tool for exploring houses before buying or as a form of psychotherapy.

Breakthroughs and discoveries in 2016

Overall, it looks like 2016 is going to be even more amazing than 2015. Google has beaten the world’s best human player in Go, many countries are rolling out self-driving cars, SpaceX is getting closer and closer to fully reusable rockets and 10x cheaper spaceflights, the amazing innovations in medicine like 3D printed tissue or anti-aging gene therapy are making us live healthier and longer, and if we were to continue with this list of breakthroughs, this page would take hours to read. That’s why we need a way to keep track of all these advancements. And we think our website, The Milky Way Times can do this job for you.