since moved to the National University of Singapore.">

Science highlights for 2014

By Steve Pointing 17/12/2014


When asked to present a review on the year’s biggest science stories for TV3’s Firstline show, my colleague heather Hendrickson and I opted to go for examples at opposite ends of the spectrum – from outer space to inner space.  As an astrobiologist my greatest thrill this year was seeing Rosetta touch down on a comet after it’s 10 year chase, and almost immediately start producing incredible science data. The discovery that water ice on comets is unlikely to be that which seeded earth with life-giving water is a game changer in astrobiology.  It lends credence to the notion that it was in fact asteroid bombardment that supplied the water (and perhaps a significant portion of organic compounds) that allowed life to evolve on Earth. Heather presented an exciting story about NASA’s plans to lassoo an asteroid and bring it back into a lunar orbit for research – yeeha!  The other major breakthroughs we felt came in the realm of what we call ‘inner space’ (the human body).  Here tackling the problem of antibiotic resistant superbugs and transformational new imaging techniques for living systems were our picks.  View the full TV3 feature from Heather and myself at: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/2014s-biggest-science-breakthroughs-2014121710#axzz3M6Kpkc2Z.