spotlight Mars landing, gene editing among big science breakthroughs in 2018 Tribune News Service / Associated Press Dec 20, 2018 Facebook Twitter SMS Email Print Save It was a big year for science in 2018. Here's a look at what scientists achieved in the past year. Mars InSight landing The NASA spacecraft Insight landed on Mars on Nov. 26, with a mission to study the interior of the planet, after a six-month, 300-million-mile journey and a perilous, six-minute descent through the planet's atmosphere. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory leaped out of their seats and erupted in screams, applause and laughter as the news came in. Al Seib/Los Angeles Times Gene-edited babies A Chinese researcher claimed that he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life. Many mainstream scientists think it's too unsafe to try, and some denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation. Dreamstime SpaceX rocket launch SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, a partially resuable rocket with the highest payload of any currently operational rocket, which blasted off carrying a red electric sports car aiming for an endless road trip past Mars. See more photos from the launch here. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel Precise atomic clock Scientists have built a new generation of atomic clocks so sensitive that their timekeeping is affected by gravitational changes due to height differences of as little as 2 centimeters. The findings were published Nov. 28 in the journal Nature. Reid Wiseman/NASA Electronic skin Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering graduate student Luke Osborn developed an "e-dermis" device that uses an "electronic skin" to help amputees experience physical sensations. Here's the Baltimore Sun's report on the breakthrough. Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Sea sponges Researchers identified chemicals in sea sponges that could be the key to fighting antibiotic-resistant infections. The research is from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Dreamstime Smart pill A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a pill containing a strain of bacteria and electronics that can be used to identify signs of disease in the body. Learn more in this video. Dreamstime Maze-running A.I. U.K.-based researchers developed an artificial intelligence that can learn to take short cuts in mazes, using structures similar to the human brain. Read more about it here. Dreamstime 3D-printed corneas Scientists at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom successfully created human corneas using a 3D printer. The creation is a significant breakthrough as the cornea has a major role in focusing vision. The research results were published in Experimental Eye Research. Dreamstime Summit supercomputer The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory was determined to be the fastest supercomputer in the world at 200 petaflops, according to the TOP500 List, a semiannual ranking of the world’s fastest computing systems. Oak Ridge National Labratory Fastest camera Scientists from Caltech and the University of Quebec developed the world’s fastest camera, capable of capturing a record-breaking 10 trillion frames per second. More info about the breakthrough here. Institut national de la recherche scientifique Wear-resistant alloy Sandia National Laboratories developed a platinum-gold alloy that could be the most wear-resistant metal in the world at more than 100 times more durable than high-strength steel. Sandia National Labratories Google's Bristlecone chip Google created the Bristlecone quantum computer chip to help researchers test the error rates of quantum computing. The company says the prototype could outdo conventional machines in some tasks. Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group Wheat genome The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium completed its sequencing of the genome of bread wheat. The breakthrough is hailed as a way to make it easier to breed new varieties of the crop considered the world’s most important. Jeff Tuttle/Wichita Eagle Tags Wire Tns Science 2018 Year In Review Facebook Twitter SMS Email Print Save Recommended View All Promotions promotion spotlight Which season suits you best? AP promotion spotlight Who's your TV mom?