Science 2022 will have to deal with the Omicron variant, for which much remains to be understood, and the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it will also have to grapple with a return to the Moon and new life-search missions on March, while returning to a bigger race The world’s particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (Lhc) at CERN in Geneva, after a technical failure, 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 has referenced on its website.
2022 marks the entry of the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic and the most urgent commitment, writes Nature, 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 illness. Additionally, protection against the potential emergence of new variants of SarsCoV2 is not expected to be reduced and the long-term effects of the disease, a condition called Long Covid, should continue to be studied.
However, the biggest challenge of the new year is to make vaccines available to all the world’s population, closing the current divide between rich and poor countries. Researchers around the world have repeatedly stressed that this is a critical step in 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 lunar orbiting space station, Gateway. India’s new mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-3, is also planned, which aims to bring spacecraft to lunar soil. It is also the goal of the Japanese mission Slim, the Russian Luna 25, and Korea ready to make its debut on the moon, 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, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia (Roscosmos), which will transport the Rosalind Franklin rover to the red planet in September, intended for search for traces of past life with a drill designed and manufactured in Italy.
As for physics, the Lhc accelerator will restart in June, after a prolonged technical failure also due to the pandemic. 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 on the 40 million proton collisions produced every second.