As we bid farewell to 2022, the world has witnessed many new scientific and technological achievements over the past 12 months. As the world struggled to recover from the pandemic, another cloud of danger in the form of the Russia-Ukraine war loomed over our heads, and scientists and technical innovators continued to work hard to make our lives a little better than last year make.
This year-end, we’ve selected five defining moments in science and technology in 2022. These events not only change our perception and understanding of the world, but will also have a lasting impact on our lives for years to come.
James Webb Space Telescope: Window to the early Universe
The year 2022 began on a high note as the world awaited the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, which it did, and began to provide a never-before-seen view of our universe.
Using the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) powerful optics system, scientists have been able to take direct pictures of a planet beyond our solar system. It intrigued us with the image of a duo of stars – known as Wolf-Rayet 140 – forming a “fingerprint” in space, and another image presented the “Pillars of Creations.”
5G in India
India saw the dawn of a new era in telecom services with the arrival of 5G technology. On October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially announced the rollout.
5G technology promises a very low latency of almost 5 milliseconds, while 4G latency ranges from 30ms to 100ms. Where the download speed of 4G reaches 1 Gbps, the goal of 5G is to increase this tenfold to a maximum download speed of 10 Gbps. With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, it has the potential to completely transform the mobile connectivity ecosystem.
5G services are expected to roll out across India in the next few years. Jio pledges to do so by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024.
New innings: The Artemis mission starts to the moon
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) successfully launched the first spaceflight of the Artemis lunar mission, entering the next session of exploration of the planet. The last manned mission to the moon was the 12-day Apollo 17 mission between December 7 and 19, 1972.
The Artemis 1 mission, an astronaut-free test flight, represents the first step in the US space agency’s plan to establish a permanent presence on the Moon and learn lessons from it in preparation for a future trip to Mars in the 2030s.
In 2024, Artemis 2 will perform a moon flyby with astronauts. Boots on the ground would take place no earlier than 2025 during Artemis 3, with the crew including the first woman and person of color on the moon.
Musk becomes Twitter’s chief idiot
“Let the good times roll,” tweeted Elon Musk, the world’s second richest man and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, after completing the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in late October after months of back-and-forth negotiations.
Since then, Musk has initiated radical changes at the helm of the social media giant. From massive layoffs to monthly subscription fees for premium services, some changes have garnered acclaim, many drawing fierce backlash from netizens.
The self-proclaimed freedom of speech absolutist declared a general amnesty for suspended Twitter accounts, unsuspended Donald Trump’s account and suspended rapper Kanye West’s account. All of this ensured that the most viral topic on Twitter remained Twitter itself.
Despite Elon Musk’s announcement that he will follow the Twitter poll that called for him to step down from the platform’s top spot, 2023 will still be a year of plot twists.
Breakthrough in nuclear fusion energy
Scientists at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California announced Tuesday that they have achieved fusion ignition, meaning the fusion process created more energy than it used up. From an input of 2.05 megajoules, it released more than 50 percent of the energy – 3.15 megajoules.
The achievement can be compared to the breakthrough of the Wright brothers in 1903, but there is a great challenge ahead that can be equated with the launch of the Boeing 747 jetliner 66 years later. There is a long way to go to get a significant use case of this successful experiment.