The economic crisis which began in 2007 shows little sign of ending. US debt continues to increase, now reaching almost $20 trillion,* and its credit rating has been further downgraded.* In an unprecedented move, the dollar is beginning to lose its status as the world's reserve currency. A basket of currencies is in the process of replacing it. America remains paralysed by political deadlock, with an increasingly polarised and divided society.
The contagion affecting the eurozone, originally confined to Greece, has spread to other parts of the continent, leading to the collapse of numerous banks, corporations and financial institutions. Bailout after bailout has failed to provide an adequate long term solution.
Unemployment remains high, while poor consumer spending means governments are faced with lower tax revenues. Oil and food prices continue to rise.* Gold and silver have reached unprecedented highs.* Meanwhile, China is facing its own problems – including the fallout of a massive real estate bubble.*
There are continued riots and protests throughout the world during this time, volatile market conditions and a number of frightening changes in society at large. Investor confidence is being eroded, with a growing reluctance to take risks. As debts worsen, there is no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel.*
Genome sequencing continues to improve exponentially
Despite the economic crisis, a number of industries continue to show growth. One of these is personal medicine and genome sequencing.* After the Human Genome Project was finished in 2003, the potential for its public use began to be realised. It had taken nearly 15 years and billions of dollars to identify and map all 3.3 billion base pairs in the human genome. However, the methods used to achieve this goal had begun to improve exponentially, at a rate even faster than Moore's Law in computer chips.* From 2008, the cost per genome was plummeting.* By 2014, it was possible to sequence an entire human genome for less than $100.*
The second half of this decade brings even greater advances. One major trend in recent years has been the increasing portability* of machines for analysing genomes. These are now becoming so sophisticated that they can provide results in a matter of seconds, at negligible costs. Handheld genome sequencers have a wide range of practical applications. They can be used by police at crime scenes, for example, to analyse biological evidence without needing to return it to the laboratory, saving time and money. Foreign aid workers in the developing world can identify viruses and verify water quality. Food inspectors can check for harmful pathogens in restaurants. Wildlife biologists can study genes in the field.
But perhaps the most widespread use of genome sequencing is now among the general public, who can utilise it for a mere fraction of what it cost in the previous decade. Just as the Internet seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-1990s, personalised genomics is now exploding into the mainstream in the late 2010s. Its popularity stems from the health benefits and medical insights it offers: after the base pairs are sequenced, an individual's genotype can be cross-referenced with a database of published literature to determine the likelihood of trait expression and disease risk later in life. This allows someone to prepare many years in advance, and to seek treatment at a much earlier stage. By the end of this decade, tens of millions of human genomes have been sequenced around the world, as a new era of personalised medicine begins to emerge. At the same time, however, concerns are raised over genetic discrimination and privacy of information.
Five-year survival rates for thyroid cancer are approaching 100%
The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands. Found in the neck, it controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones. It does so by producing thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body.
Worldwide, an estimated 213,000 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008. More than a quarter of cases occurred in the US. However, treatments already existed that offered an excellent prognosis. In addition to surgery (which included thyroidectomy, lobectomy and tracheostomy), numerous drugs were being developed that improved the outlook for sufferers still further. In the second half of the 2010s, five-year survival rates are approaching 100% in much of the developed world.**
reality makes a comeback
The computer industry is another sector that has continued to see growth, in spite of the global economic crisis.* Exponential
improvements in processing power (doubling every 18 months) are enabling the creation of highly lifelike
graphics and 3D environments. At the same time, faster broadband is
opening up new frontiers in cyberspace, allowing the development of
Web 3.0 - the next generation of Internet. This is being combined with developments
in on-person hardware, creating renewed interest in virtual reality.* Having been something of a gimmick in the 1980s, it is now becoming a serious tool for business, leisure, education and training.
the content in these 3D environments is user-generated, with online communities
for sharing and exchanging virtual objects, buildings, avatars, etc. For
the wealthy, some of the hardware options now available include pod-like
structures which are fully enclosing and respond to a variety of gesture
are going extinct
century saw tiger numbers plunge by over 95% worldwide. By the 1970s,
they had disappeared from Central Asia, by the 1980s from Java and by
the 1990s from South China. Three of the nine subspecies – Bali,
Javan and Caspian tigers – were extinct by the 1980s.
continued to decline into the 21st century. By 2010, it was estimated
that India – once a stronghold for these animals – had less
than 800 left in the wild, while some of the rarer subspecies had only
30 individuals. Poaching
remained a serious problem, with tiger skins fetching up to $20,000
in China. Habitat loss was accelerating, with farmers encroaching into
tigers' territory and forests being cleared to make way for palm oil
were held between conservation groups and the few countries where tigers
remained. These proved to be ineffectual, however, and were more about
politicians wanting to be seen doing something, rather than tackling
the issues on the ground.
a few years, there were no longer any viable breeding populations of
tigers, setting them on the path to irreversible decline. Once the most
recognisable and popular of the world's megafauna, this animal would
soon go the way of the dodo, with only small numbers remaining in zoos
and private collections.*
The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals
In 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history took place, as the 193 UN member states met in New York to discuss the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These were eight international objectives with ambitious targets for developing countries, most of them to be achieved by 2015.*
• Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day.
- By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
• Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
- By 2015, ensure a full course of primary schooling for boys and girls alike.
• Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
- By 2005, eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education; and at all levels of education by 2015.
• Goal 4: Reduce child mortality rates
- By 2015, reduce by two-thirds the number of children dying under age five.
• Goal 5: Improve maternal health
- By 2015, reduce by three quarters the number of women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
• Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- By 2015, halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
- By 2015, halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
• Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
- Reverse the loss of environmental resources.
- By 2015, halve the proportion of people lacking access to safe drinking water.
- By 2020, achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
• Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
- Address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked nations and small island developing states.
- Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures, in order to make debt sustainable in the long term.
- In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies.
To accelerate progress towards the MDGs, the G-8 Finance Ministers met in London in June 2005 and reached an agreement to provide enough funds to the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank to write off $55bn of debt owed by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). This would allow these impoverished nations to re-channel the money saved from the cancelled debt to social programs for improving health and education and for alleviating poverty.
Achieving the MDGs would not necessarily depend on economic growth alone and expensive solutions. In the case of MDG 4, some developing countries like Bangladesh showed that it was possible to reduce child mortality with only modest growth, via inexpensive but effective interventions such as measles immunisation. A number of important and innovative new technologies were also emerging - such as the $100 laptop project,* the LifeSaver bottle* and the genetic engineering of mosquitoes.*
By 2010, some countries had achieved many goals, while others were not on track to realise any. The countries with major success stories included China (whose citizens in poverty fell from 452m to 278m), India, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Ethiopia.
However, some regions in Sub-Saharan Africa failed to make any significant changes in improving their quality of life. The prevalence of hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for example - Africa's 2nd largest country - more than doubled, while Zimbabwe saw a nearly 50% increase in poverty and Kenya's child mortality rate increased from 105 to 128 per 1000.
Progress towards reaching the goals was therefore mixed. There were setbacks and disappointments. But overall, the reduction in poverty and increased access to health, education, technology and other essential services was without precedent in many countries' histories. Of particular note was the number of deaths due to AIDS, which saw a dramatic levelling off and decline.*
By 2015, increasing global uncertainties such as the economic crisis, peak oil and climate change have led to a rethink of the MDG approach to development policy, with a new set of goals for 2030.
The Eurasian Union is formed
The Eurasian Union is a political and economic union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and other countries, in particular the post-Soviet states. The idea, based on the European Union's integration, was brought to attention in October 2011 by then-Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, but was first proposed as a concept by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, during a 1994 speech at a Moscow university. On 18th November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015. The agreement included a roadmap for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission (modelled on the European Commission) and the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1st January 2012.
It was speculated that future expansion of the Union might allow membership for other countries that have been historically or culturally close – such as Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, China and Mongolia, incorporating them into a common state body where Russian would be the common language of communication and economic cooperation. According to Vladimir Putin, the Eurasian Union would build upon the "best values of the Soviet Union". However, critics expressed some concern at this "re-Sovietization" of Russia and Central Asia. The United States opposed the integration effort on human rights grounds.*
The Universal Exposition is held in Milan this year, the first time the city has hosted the event since 1906. The main theme of the exposition is the future availability of food and water supplies and the state of nutrition and health in the years to come. New technology is on display, all with the aim of reducing poverty and famine around the world, as well as the spread of infectious diseases. A working prototype of a vertical farm is also presented as an alternative to traditional agriculture.
This event serves as a catalyst for talks between concerned parties such as farmers, non-profit organisations, humanitarian workers and environmentalists, initiating new movements for change. Over 100 nations from around the world participate in the Expo. By the time it finishes in late 2015, many millions of people have visited.*
Large Hadron Collider reaches its maximum operating power
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy
particle accelerator. By smashing together sub-atomic particles at close
to the speed of light, it aims to recreate the conditions that existed
just a fraction of a second after the birth of the universe. In doing
so, it is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions
lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as much as
175 metres (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.
This synchrotron is designed to collide opposing particle beams of either
protons at an energy of 7 tera-electronvolts (7 TeV) per particle, or
lead nuclei at 574 TeV per nucleus. The term "hadron" refers
to particles composed of quarks.
was built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) with
the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics,
including the existence of the hypothesised Higgs boson, and of the
large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetry. It was built
in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over
100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
2008, the proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring
of the LHC for the first time – but nine days later its operations were
halted due to a serious malfunction. In November 2009, they were successfully
circulated again, the first recorded proton-proton collisions occurring
three days later at the injection energy of 0.45 TeV per beam. After the
2009 winter shutdown, the LHC was restarted and the beam was ramped
up to half power, 3.5 TeV per beam (i.e. half its designed energy).
In March 2010, the first planned collisions took place between two 3.5
TeV beams – a new world record for the highest-energy particle
collisions. The LHC
continues to operate at half power until 2015, when it reaches its maximum
design capacity of 7 TeV.
Initially, the experiment
sparked fear among the public that the collisions might produce a doomsday
scenario, involving microscopic black holes or hypothetical
particles known as strangelets. Two CERN-commissioned safety reviews
examined these concerns and concluded that the experiments at the LHC
presented no danger and that there was no reason for concern, a conclusion
endorsed by the American Physical Society.
The world's first fully sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste city
The first phase of Masdar City – a $22 billion eco-project – is completed in 2015.* This huge development is located outside of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Entirely pre-planned and self-contained, it is the world's first carbon neutral, zero waste and fully sustainable city. A multitude of green technologies are utilised – including the largest solar power plant in the Middle East, rooftop photovoltaics, wind farms, geothermal sources and a hydrogen power plant. The city's water needs are fulfilled by a solar-powered desalination plant. There are extensive recycling systems too.
Masdar City will initially be home to around 7,000 residents and 15,000 commuters. Its commercial sector is primarily concerned with the manufacture of environmentally-friendly products. Automobiles are banned from the city, residents instead using integrated forms of mass transit and personal rapid transit.* It is connected to the rest of Abu Dhabi through rail and existing roadways. It contains a university, an institute of science and technology and hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Masdar City will undergo major expansion. The final phase of the project will be completed by 2025, covering an area of 6 sq km (2.3 sq mi). By then, it will contain over 50,000 residents and 1,500 businesses.*
world's first lunar tourist
Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist, spending eight days
on the International Space Station and orbiting Earth a total of 128
times. Tito paid a reported $20 million for his trip, through an arrangement
with space tourism company Space Adventures Ltd.
of startup companies sprang up in subsequent years, in the hope of creating
a space tourism industry. These included Virgin Galactic, which used
suborbital spacecraft designed by Scaled Composites and launched from Spaceport America. At a cost of $200,000
each, civilians could journey to a height of 110 km (68 miles), experiencing
up to six minutes of zero-G whilst looking down on the Earth.
an orbital hotel were also unveiled by Russian
company Energiya, in partnership with Orbital Technologies, a US hi-tech
began to look further, however, setting its sights on an even more daring
and ambitious venture. In 2015, the company offers the first lunar orbits
to paying tourists. At a cost of $150 million, passengers can travel
beyond Earth orbit, enjoying circumlunar trips and viewing the Moon
from just 100 km (62 miles) above its surface - as well as viewing the
famous Earthrise.* Only
24 people have ever experienced this. The craft is also considerably
larger and more comfortable than those used during the Apollo program.*
first in a new generation of US aircraft carriers is launched this year.
The Gerald R. Ford-class replaces the aging Nimitz-class
which has been in service since 1975. This new class of ship includes
some major improvements over previous generations. These include: increased
automation, electromagnetic aircraft launch systems to replace previous
steam mechanisms, increased stealth, a new type of nuclear reactor for
more efficient power consumption, high tech radar and flight control,
as well as the ability to carry the new F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.
Ten carriers are commissioned in total, at a cost of $14bn each (including
research and development). The 10th and final ship is launched by 2040.*
United States and South Korea dissolve the Combined Forces Command
Combined Forces Command has been in place since the end of the Korean
War. It acts as a command structure for the multinational military forces
supporting South Korea. For more than 50 years, military operations
along the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea have been
under the command of the USA. This structure is dissolved in 2015,
with operations being handed over to South Korea.* From this
point onwards, South Korean and American
forces will operate as two separate entities during wartime. This event comes at a
time of great stress between North and South Korea. North Korea has
continued to conduct missile tests, to the continued disapproval of
The first large-scale solar updraft towers are operational
The first large-scale solar updraft towers are completed in 2015.* Built by EnviroMission - a start-up company that purchased land in Arizona, USA - they stand 800 metres in height, over twice as tall as the Empire State Building. Each generates 200 megawatts of clean, renewable energy - enough to serve 150,000 homes - and equivalent to removing 220,000 polluting cars from the roads.*
The towers work by combining three old and proven technologies: the chimney effect,
the greenhouse effect, and the wind turbine. Air is heated by
the Sun and contained in a very large greenhouse-like structure around
the base; the resulting convection causes air
to rise up the chimney. This airflow then drives turbines, producing
The towers have a number of advantages:
Because they work on temperature differential, not absolute temperature, they work in any weather;
Because the heat of the day warms the ground up so much, they continue working at night;
Since large areas of hot, dry land provide the best results, they can be built on useless and uninhabited land in the middle of the desert;
They use no resources such as coal or uranium - just air and sunlight;
They emit zero pollution. The only "emission" is warm air from the top of the tower. In fact, because of the greenhouse underneath, they can also be used for growing vegetation;
They require virtually no maintenance and will last for almost a century;
They can serve as tourist attractions, with money being generated from people wishing to experience their viewing galleries at the top.
This new technology offers hope for the future, coming at a time when the world faces an impending energy crisis. Once proven to be commercially successful, it will be deployed on a wider scale in the 2020s.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history
On 10th September 2015, Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history - surpassing the record held by Victoria, her great-great grandmother. Having ascended to the throne on 6th February 1952, she has now reigned for 63 years and 217 days.*
The six decades of her reign have witnessed enormous changes on the world stage - including the dismantling of the British Empire, the civil rights movement, the growing empowerment of women in society, the development of the Space Age, accelerating globalisation, the fall of communism in Europe, the end of the Cold War, the dawn of the information age, and the rise of China, to name but a few.
Now aged 89, she is becoming noticeably frailer and has begun to scale back her official duties. The next milestone (assuming she lives that long) will be in 2022 - her Platinum Jubilee. Her eldest son Charles will succeed her, becoming King Charles III.
Gay marriage is legal in the UK
Civil partnerships had already been permitted in the UK since 2004, following the Civil Partnership Act. This gave rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples that were identical to civil marriage between opposite-sex couples. They were entitled to the same property rights, the same exemption on inheritance tax, the same social security and pension benefits, full life insurance recognition, the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner's children, as well as next of kin rights in hospitals.
This angered some Christian groups concerned that the sanctity of marriage was being threatened. It was criticised by gay rights activists, however, for not going far enough. The Act stopped short of awarding full marriage status, which they still viewed as a form of discrimination.
The gay rights movement continued to gain momentum. A public consultation was conducted in 2012, aimed at further reform. This was supported by the conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, as part of a modernising drive included in his party's election manifesto. By 2015, full marriage rights are granted to gay couples in the UK.*
Gay rights are also making progress in the USA, along with many other countries around the world.* The number of Americans supporting gay
marriage has now overtaken those against.*
Battery technology gets a boost
A new method of charging lithium-ion batteries has been perfected. This enables them to charge ten times faster and to last ten times as long. A chemical oxidation process creates miniscule holes (10 to 20 nanometres) between layers of graphene. This provides lithium ions with a "shortcut" to the anode. Energy density is increased by inserting clusters of silicon between each graphene slice, which allows more ions to gather at the electrode.*
By 2015, the process is widely used in consumer electronics. Mobile phones can now be charged from flat in under 15 minutes, with a single charge lasting up to a week. This technology also paves the way for smaller and more efficient batteries for electric cars.
printing is a mainstream consumer product
recently, this technology was extremely expensive - upwards of $15,000
per machine - and limited to use in industrial prototyping, product
design, medical modeling and architectural models.* However, plummeting costs are now making it affordable to consumers.**
than using ink on paper, these machines can actually "print"
3D objects. This is achieved by melting nylon powder and then shaping
it based on computer instructions.
different items can be produced – from jewellery and decorative
giftware, to children's toys, kitchenware, replacement plugs, hooks,
pipes, fittings, flooring and other household essentials.
download new items and configurations from the Web.* Artists and hobbyists can even create their own, using these printers
in combination with 3D scanners and modeling
In addition to falling
costs, another reason that home 3D printing has taken off rapidly is
that there is very little manufacturing being done in America and various
other countries anymore. As a result, there is little or no pressure
by manufacturing special interests against it.
decades ahead, this technology will evolve into nanofabricators,
capable of reproducing items with atomic precision within minutes. It
will ultimately lead to matter
replicators with near-instantaneous production of virtually any
object – including foodstuffs.
LED lamps dominate the commercial and domestic lighting markets
For many years, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were used as indicators such as red standby dots on TVs. At first, they were available only as a red light source, and their output was too low for general illumination. As the technology developed, other colours became available and the lamps became brighter, so LEDs found other roles in a wide range of appliances and equipment.
In the early 2010s, it was found that LED technology could vastly improve the brightness, colour and distribution of lighting in social housing communal areas. Not only that, but it could deliver huge energy savings (up to 90%), and reduce long-term costs and maintenance, while making residents feel safer.
Credit: The Energy Saving Trust
One study measured the performance of 4,250 LED light fittings, installed at 35 sites. The authors of the report calculated a saving of over 3.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) each year when compared with the previous systems – equivalent to lighting 5,800 average homes for a year with traditional lighting. Residents commented that their buildings felt safer, more secure and more pleasant because they were better illuminated. The light was fresher, brighter and more like daylight.
With soaring energy prices, the high efficiency of LED lamps soon made them a very attractive investment. By 2015, this technology dominates both the commercial and domestic lighting markets.*
nanometre chips enter mass production
next generation of microprocessor technology is released by Intel, with
transistors based on a 10 nanometre manufacturing process.* Over 10 billion transistors can now be packed onto a single chip. Moore's
Law will soon be hitting a wall, as the effects of quantum tunnelling
start to degrade chip performance. Traditional integrated circuits will
reach their limit in the early 2020s, with a new paradigm emerging in the form of "stacked" 3D circuits made from carbon
nanotubes, graphene and other new materials.
resurrect the woolly mammoth
cloning technology has enabled the woolly mammoth – extinct for 5,000
years – to be brought back to life. Tissue samples are taken from a
mammoth frozen in permafrost. The nuclei of a viable cell is then inserted
into the egg cell of a female African elephant, which can act as a surrogate
mother. Following a 600-day gestation period, the baby woolly mammoth
attempts to clone mammoths had failed, because the cell nuclei were
too badly damaged by ice crystals; but new techniques have overcome
take around 20 years to reach adulthood. By the 2030s, they are appearing
in a number of zoos and private collections. Other extinct mammals are
cloned too, such as the sabre-tooth tiger and Megatherium.
bottles are in widespread use
World countries are benefitting from a revolutionary portable device.
First revealed in 2007, it is now widely used by foreign aid workers and UN staff.
Bottle" filters water-borne pathogens, using holes just 15 nanometers
across, to prevent even the smallest viruses (25 nanometers across)
getting through, and eliminating the need for chemicals to treat the
water. The Lifesaver Bottle is fitted with a 4000UF replaceable purification
cartridge that removes bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi, and
all other microbiological water-borne pathogens.
comes with an activated carbon filter, made of a high specification
activated carbon block. This reduces a broad spectrum of chemical residues
including: pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds, medical residues
and heavy metals such as lead and copper. The carbon filter also eliminates
bad tastes and odors from contaminates such as chlorine and sulphur.
It is designed to last for approximately 250 litres.*
Carteret Islands are abandoned
By 2015, due
to rising sea levels, the inhabitants of the Carteret Islands in Papua
New Guinea have been forced to abandon their homelands.* These people are among the first true climate refugees.
trees and wells have been contaminated by seawater, while most of the
buildings on the islands have been destroyed. Attempts to build sea
wall defences were unsuccessful – these were simply washed away.
of polar ice sheets and glaciers, together with thermal expansion, could
raise the level of Earth's oceans nearly 2m by 2100 - potentially displacing
hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
NASA probe was launched in 2006 and has travelled more than 4 billion kilometres
through space. In July 2015, it returns the first close range, high resolution pictures
of the icy world - along with its five moons - before passing through
the Kuiper Belt.*
Dawn is a robotic spacecraft sent by NASA on a mission to the asteroid belt.
It reaches Vesta in 2011, before rendezvousing with the dwarf planet,
Ceres, in 2015.
Vesta are the two most massive members of the asteroid belt: 950 and
530 km in diameter, respectively. Dawn is the first probe to
study and photograph them at close range. Both bodies formed very early
in the history of the Solar System, thereby retaining a record of events
and processes from the time of the formation of the terrestrial planets.
Dawn is also innovative - it becomes the first spacecraft to enter into orbit
around a celestial body, study it, then re-embark under powered flight
to a second target. All previous multi-target missions (such as the
Voyager program) have involved rapid planetary flybys.*
I remains the most distant human-made object, traveling away from
the Earth at a speed greater than any other space probe.
in 1977, its original mission was to visit Jupiter and Saturn. It became
the first probe to provide detailed images of these planets and their
it entered the "termination shock" - the point where solar
wind particles slow down to subsonic speeds due to interactions with
the local interstellar medium.
it has travelled so far that it has begun entering a region known as
the "heliopause" - the point where the interstellar medium
and solar wind pressures balance. It remains operational during this
time, pursuing its extended mission to study the very boundaries of
the Solar System, including the Kuiper Belt and beyond.
along with its sister - Voyager II - will continue operating
as they head for the "Bow Shock", the true beginnings of interstellar
space. They will transmit signals back to Earth until at least 2025
(half a century after they were launched) before their power finally
Trucks with emergency braking systems are mandatory in Europe
In November 2015, an EU law comes into effect which mandates that all new trucks must be fitted with emergency braking and collision warning systems.* This has been introduced in an effort to lower the number of rear-end collisions, which account for a significant proportion of road accidents.
A radar and camera, working together to identify and monitor vehicles in front, can prevent a collision with a moving target at relative speeds of up to 44 mph (70 km/h). When the system detects a vehicle that the truck will hit at its current speed, the warning system activates a constant red light in the windscreen in order to attract the driver's attention.
If the truck fails to detect any reaction from the driver, such as steering or braking, the light begins to flash red accompanied by a beeping sound. If there is still no reaction, the system applies the brakes gently. When all this fails too, an emergency braking system is activated, bringing the truck to a complete stop. In addition, to alert other drivers to the situation, the brake lights on the rear of the truck will change from fixed to flashing.
By the end of this decade, the system is being extended to cars, too.* As more and more technology appears both in vehicles and road infrastructure, the number of accident fatalities continues to trend downwards,* reaching almost zero in the latter half of the century, with human drivers being entirely replaced by AI.
16 NAU, an international design collective, is developing a prototype of
the "Immersive Cocoon". This pod-like structure fully encloses
a person, allowing graphics to be displayed around them in a 3-D environment,
with 360° screens and full surround sound. NAU completes its prototype
in 2009, and models are going to be commercially available by 2014. See Designers developing virtual-reality 'Cocoon', CNN.com: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TECH/09/11/immersive.cocoon/index.html
Accessed 13th Sept 2008.
a nine-figure ticket price, the firm has already signed up a passenger
for a maiden moon journey. And if it inks a second customer soon, the
mission could launch within three to five years, company officials say." See Next Giant Leap for Space Tourism: A Trip Around the Moon, Space.com: http://www.space.com/11502-space-tourism-moon-mission-space-adventures.html
Accessed 16th May 2011.