In January, US and UK researchers will descend on Antarctica to begin their largest joint mission to the continent in more than 70 years. The aim of the five-year project is to understand whether the remote and seemingly unstable Thwaites Glacier will start to collapse in the next few decades.
- China could emerge as the world’s biggest spender on research and development.
- More fossils illuminating the origins of ancient hominin species could emerge from islands in southeast Asia.
- It could be a make-or-break year for plans to build a successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
- Geneticists will continue to deal with the repercussions of 2018’s claim by He Jiankui to have helped produce the world’s first gene-edited babies.
- Plan S, the effort to flip scholarly publications to a fully open-access model.
- The World Health Organization expects to finish a major revision of its Laboratory Biosafety Manual in mid-2019.
- As carbon emissions continue to rise, 2019 could see the first experiments that are explicitly aimed at understanding how to artificially cool the planet using a practice called solar geoengineering.
- Researchers in Canada should start to see the first results from a flurry of studies into the cultivation and basic biology of cannabis.
- The world’s largest radio telescope — China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope — should be fully operational and available to researchers from September.