Science 2022 will have to deal with the Omicron variant, for which there is still a lot to understand, and with the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it will also struggle with a return to the Moon and new missions to search for life on Mars, while returning to a larger run The world’s particle accelerator, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (Lhc) in Geneva, after a technical outage, will spark new enthusiasm for the so-called new exploration. Physics. These are some of the key science designations for the new year, which Nature referenced on its website.
2022 marks the entry of the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic and the most urgent commitment, Nature writes, will be to answer the many questions that remain open about the Omicron variant. Among these, the most important is to understand whether it causes more or less serious disease. Moreover, protection against the potential emergence of novel variants of SarsCoV2 should not be lowered and the long-term effects of the disease, a condition called Long Covid, should continue to be studied.
However, the biggest challenge in the new year is to make vaccines available to all the world’s population, eliminating the gap that currently separates rich and poor countries. Researchers from around the world have repeatedly pointed out that this is the critical step to limiting the spread of the virus. Among the vaccines, the first vaccines containing mRNA specific for SarsCoV2 variants, as well as new anti-Covid protein and DNA vaccines, are also expected.
2022 is also the year of the return to the Moon, with the first Artemis missions and preparations to build the first space station in lunar orbit, Gateway. Also scheduled is India’s new mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-3, which aims to bring spacecraft to lunar soil. That’s also the goal of the Japanese Slim mission, the Russian Luna 25, and Korea ready to make its moon debut, with the Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter. The Japanese private company ispace is preparing to transfer the Emirati rover to the moon, while the American companies Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines will bring NASA instruments to the lunar surface.
High expectations in 2022 also for missions to Mars, the most important of which are ExoMars, of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia (Roscosmos), which in September will carry the Rosalind Franklin rover to the Red Planet, destined to search for traces of past life thanks to a drill designed and made in Italy.
As for physics, the Lhc accelerator will restart in June, after a prolonged technical outage due to the pandemic as well. The two largest experiments, ATLAS and CMS, the same experiments that found the Higgs boson, have been optimized and will allow us to collect data from the 40 million proton collisions produced every second.