Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mini plan to introduce their own plug-in hybrid electric-car models this year. BMW North America
2009 promises to be a big one for all things science and tech-related. From the LHC’s big comeback to SciFi blockbuster sequels, you heard it here first. We bring you “The Future Now,” and we don’t mess around.
Read more of Popular Science’s predictions for 2009.
January: 2009– A Year of Stars
Unesco has designated 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy to highlight the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope to make astronomical observations.
February 12: Darwin’s Birthday Bash
Charles Darwin, the man who brought you the theory of evolution by natural selection, was born 200 years ago. His hometown of Shrewsbury, England, and the Natural History Museum in London will offer the grandest celebrations.
February 17: TV Goes to All-Digital
Television stations switch to digital signals to broadcast their current channels, keeping the spectrum open for other telecommunication uses, such as emergency broadcasts and wireless broadband.
February: Hubble Repair
Astronauts will install two new instruments and repair two inactive ones in five six-and-a-half-hour spacewalks during the Hubble Space Telescope’s final servicing mission. Afterward, it should be able to study galaxies even farther away and in three different spectra: near-ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared. NASA expects at least another five years of stunning images from the Hubble.
Spring: Sci-Fi Sequels
Techies will flock to theaters with the release of Watchmen (March 6), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1), Star Trek (May 8), Terminator Salvation (May 22) and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26).
Spring: LHC Restart
Having recovered from an electrical mishap that led to helium leaks and mechanical damage last September, the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN lab near Geneva, Switzerland, will start operations again.
Spring: Solar Airplane Test Flights
Solar Impulse, the first plane to be powered by solar energy and to take off under its own power, will undergo test flights. It can travel up to 28 mph and cruise at an elevation of 27,900 feet because its cabin is not pressurized.
Summer: South Korea’s First Space Launch
South Korea’s Korea Launch Vehicle System (KLVS-1) will end that country’s dependence on other nations to power its ventures into space.
July: Lithium-Polymer Batteries Now in Cars
Hyundai will release the first car in the world to use lithium-polymer rechargeable batteries. The Elantra LPI (Liquefied Petroleum Injected) HEV emits 90 percent fewer emissions than an equivalent standard gasoline-powered Elantra.
Fall: Electric Cars to Market
Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mini plan to introduce their own plug-in hybrid electric-car models this year.
Late Year: 1,000 Human Genomes
After sequencing its first human genome last July, California-based Complete Genomics plans to map 1,000 human genomes this year and an additional 20,000 in 2010.
December: Copenhagen Climate Conference
The Framework Convention on Climate Change that the United Nations will host in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the final government-level meeting for developing a new international climate policy—a Copenhagen Protocol—before its predecessor, the 15-year-old Kyoto Protocol, expires in 2012.
End of Year: Rwanda and Computing
By the end of the year, Rwanda will have laid more than 1,400 miles of fiber-optic cable. It will be the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to have a strong Internet infrastructure, after South Africa. The Rwandan government will also buy 50,000 XO laptops, created for children in developing countries, by early this year and intends to have all Rwandan schools networked by 2013.