This is New Year’s Eve, so it’s a good time to think about the future. Here are some of my predictions for what we might see in 2013 or at least sometime in the near future.
1. In 2012, scientists announced they’d discovered a planet in Alpha Centauri, the nearest neighboring star system. Where there’s one planet, there will probably be more. I don’t expect to ever see a human being travel to one of those planets, but someone will soon try to send a message to Alpha Centauri. If anyone is living there, we could get a reply in less than eleven years!
2. The Curiosity rover is currently exploring the surface of Mars, searching for evidence of life. The rover has already made a few interesting discoveries, but nothing to prove the Red Planet supports life now or ever did in its history. However, I predict we will find that Mars once supported life. We may even discover some form of bacteria still living there.
3. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, keeps teasing us with hints that his company will start building a colony on Mars in the next 20 years or so. He’s talking about transporting thousands of people there. I doubt that will happen (at least in my lifetime), but at some point human beings will land on Mars. I don’t expect to be one of them, but I do think I’ll live to see it happen.
4. Modern physics has two major, competing theories: Einstein’s theory of relativity versus the confusing rules of quantum mechanics. Relativity is true on the large scales of stars and planets and galaxies, but quantum mechanics–nonsensical as it seems–is true for atoms and molecules and subatomic particles. Scientists have been banging their heads against a wall for decades trying to make these two theories fit. They won’t get it done in 2013. They won’t get it done in 2014 either, but at some point they’ll figure it out. It’ll take decades, but they’ll do it. And when they do, I predict only a small handful of physicists will understand it.
5. There’s one thing I can guarantee will happen in 2013: more Tomorrow News Network short stories. There will be dinosaurs, Martian bacteria, and one or two dangerous time travel paradoxes. Also, the stories from 2012 will soon be available in ebook form, so stay tuned to hear more about that.
So what do you expect to happen in 2013 or the near future?