Health7 Exciting Scientific Breakthroughs to Look Out for in 2024

7 Exciting Scientific Breakthroughs to Look Out for in 2024

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1

Parker Solar Probe

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Originally launched in 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will reach the apex of its mission on Christmas Eve, 2024. Get ready for an exciting event as the spacecraft will come within 3.83 million miles of the Sun—the closest approach it will ever make.

With the Sun’s atmosphere estimated to end somewhere between 4.6 to 8.1 million miles from its “surface,” the probe will effectively “touch” our star.

NASA’s spacecraft will survive the experience thanks to its Venus-assisted high speed (around 430,000 mph), various cooling and shielding systems, and the Sun’s relatively dispersed atmosphere. Scientists hope this incredibly close approach will tell us more about solar particles and the waves found within solar winds.

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2

CRISPR Goes Mainstream

dpa story crispr

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For 13 years, gene-editing therapies have been tantalizingly close with the development of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR. This tech edits the genome and DNA to combat genetic diseases. In December 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the very first CRISPR treatment in the U.S. for sickle cell disease, and the acceptance of CRISPR therapies will broaden in 2024.

The FDA is expected to approve another CRISPR therapy targeting beta thalassemia, a blood disease that affects the production of beta globin (a building block of the very important hemoglobin), in March 2024. And other similar FDA approvals—which experts say have generally recovered from the COVID-19 slump—could be on the horizon.

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3

The Launch of Europa Clipper Mission

nasa administrator nelson tours jet propulsion laboratory in southern california

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Scientists think an ocean of water lies beneath Europa’s icy crust, so NASA is sending an orbiter to the Jovian moon to get a better look. Imagine the thrill as the launch of Europa Clipper in October is only the beginning of a years-long mission. In fact, it’ll take the orbiter nearly six years to arrive at its destination in the outer Solar System. Once there, it’ll enter orbit around Jupiter and make some 50 flybys of Europa, the closest of which will be only 16 miles above the surface.

With each of these flybys approaching the moon from a different location, the surface of Europa will also be completely mapped using high-resolution cameras, and a suite of other science instruments will discern the Galilean moon’s suitability for life.

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4

Fighting Mosquitoes With…Mosquitoes

brazil faces new health epidemic as mosquito borne zika virus spreads rapidly

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls mosquitoes the “world’s deadliest animal” for good reason—these insects are the cause of 700,000 deaths every year. Get ready for a groundbreaking approach in 2024, as the World Mosquito Program will fight fire with fire by releasing billions of mosquitoes in Brazil engineered with the Wolbachia bacterium,

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