A new era of science has begun. Starting now, and lasting for at least the next 15 years, many discoveries will be made and found at an incredible rate. Of course we will have incredible discoveries 15 years out, but right now marks a particular point in our history within science and technology that will shape our lives for many years ahead, and will revolutionize our thinking. Here are just a few of those things that will change the world.
Within the past year a new form of stem cell research has begun. Stem cell research has always been riddled with controversy because of the need for human embryos. A new technique is being perfected that allows scientists to take the skin cells off of a patient and essentially transforms them into stem cells (this has currently only been done on animals). With a patient's own stem cells now (from the patients skin, no embryos needed) available they can then convert them into any cell in the body and replicate them. This is huge, and advancements can come quickly now because human embryos aren't needed and politics won't get in the way.
Recently the Large Hadron Collider project announced it's soon-to-be completion. They installed the last major part in this huge under ground particle accelerator. Scientists are hoping by bashing elements and atoms at near light speeds they can unravel many of the mysteries in science and quantum mechanics. The Large Hadron Collider will possibly tell us if there are other dimensions, and possibly make Michio Kaku happy by also letting us know if strings do exist (sub atomic scale) and if String Theory is fact.
Lastly, we are also entering a new telescope type era. The Large Binocular Telescope has officially announced its competition. It has two 8.4 meter mirrors to view the night sky like never before. It will have ten times the resolution of the Hubble Telescope. Coming up we have the Kepler Mission which will look at 100,000 stars and look for earth-like planets in space. We also have the Giant Magellan Telescope, and The Thirty Meter Telescope (Major Funding By Gordon Moore) slated form completion by 2015.
Within the next 10 years these telescopes will be able to confirm if there are truly rocky earth-like worlds out there with the ingredients for life. Our new science is telling us that at least a quarter of all stars have planets orbiting them. Considering that there are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy, and at least 100 billion galaxies, the odds are great for earth-like planets to be around. We already have confirmed multiple rocky slightly larger than earth planets in the habitable zone. With our new technology and telescopes we can see just how many there are, and exactly what their atmospheres are made out of.
Going a step further. It's possible we will make one of the biggest discoveries of all time within the next 20 years if we continue at the rate of technological advancement that we are going at. We may possibly know the answer to if there is other life out there, not from earth. I personally believe it could simply be there is or isn't, but the scientific community is saying within 15-20 years we may finally have an answer.
Concluding. We are making huge advancements in medicine, technology, space, and other areas. It's interesting to see how far we have come as a civilization. Hopefully along with our advancements we still realize how important the simple things are and keep our earth healthy and clean. It is an exciting future, enjoy the ride.