Welcome to the Moon BaseWhen the last person left the moon in 1972, few could have predicted that humans wouldn’t return for another 50 years. But NASA says this time around things will be different. The agency is planning a crewed mission to the moon in 2024 , and this time it wants to stick around. The idea of the Artemis mission is to lay the foundation for a permanent human presence on and around the moon, which will then serve as a jump-off point for the agency’s journey to Mars.When Artemis was first announced, it was easy to be incredulous: The agency wants to use a rocket that hasn’t flown yet , it lacks the necessary funds for a moon mission ... the list goes on. But this year NASA has made big strides on the mission. The agency has selected a handful of companies to build components for its lunar gateway, a space station that will be in orbit around the moon, and it has solicited designs for a lunar lander . If NASA does hit its 2024 target for a crewed mission to the moon, it’s not so crazy to think it might have a permanent moon base by 2030. —Daniel Oberhaus
Climate Apocalypse Now
In October 2018 the UN warned that humanity has 12 years left to avoid catastrophic climate change. That means that by 2030, we’ll need to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half, not so much a tall order as a towering one, given that emissions are still rising year to year.
In fairness, the world won’t suddenly end on January 1, 2030, if we don’t meet that goal. But the report is spot-on in its mantra: The faster we switch to a world economy run on renewable energy, the better we can attenuate the consequences—stronger storms, rising seas, fiercer wildfires.So what can we do? For one, we need carbon taxes the world over: Release greenhouse gases and you pay a fee , which incentivizes the adoption of green energy. We have to massively subsidize solar panels and electric cars. We have to bolster public transportation and redesign cities to discourage the use of cars. And this may sound niche, but it’s hugely important: AC units need a fundamental redesign to be more efficient or 22even sequester CO2, as demand for them soars in lockstep with global temperatures. —Matt Simon
Genomic Mega MillionsIf you think you’re currently living in the age of Big DNA , think again. The next decade will see a more than hundredfold boom in the world’s output of human genetic data. The drop in sequencing costs is shifting DNA testing out of the research lab and into mainstream medical practice. Population-based sequencing projects in more than a dozen countries, including the US , are expected to produce 60 million genomes by 2025. By 2030, China hopes to add another 100 million from its own precision medicine initiative .