Top 10 science stories of 2016

1216 roundup alphago
Google / Getty Images

All systems Go! But what is it like to play against a computer?

The artificial intelligence program that thrashed a human player at the complex strategy game Go in January used some distinctly non-human techniques. But that’s not to say it is without ‘imagination’. Read more

1216 roundup gravitationalwaves
The SXS Project / ligo

Got them! Gravitational waves detected – at last

The final piece of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which has stubbornly evaded detection since his predictions a century ago, has been detected. Scientists announced in February they successfully picked up gravitational waves, formed during the cataclysmic collision and fusion of two mammoth black holes 1.3 billion light-years away. Read more

1216 roundup falcon9landing

Fifth time lucky: SpaceX lands rocket on ocean platform

A historic landing for reusable rockets in April, but it’s not been a smooth ride. Read more

1216 roundup planetnine
Caltech / R. Hurt (IPAC)

Planet Nine takes shape

The solar system is huge – it extends way past Pluto into light-year territory. So if a planet orbited the sun in that distant zone, what would it look like? In April, Swiss astrophysicists claimed to have worked it out. Read more


Universe is expanding faster than physics can explain

In June, astronomers calculated the most precise measurement of how fast the universe is expanding – and perhaps only dark physics can explain it. Read More

1216 roundup juno
NASA / JPL-Caltech

All you need to know about the Juno mission to Jupiter

 With the Juno spacecraft in orbit around the giant planet in July, this Cosmos video explains how it got there and what the mission hopes to achieve. Watch it

1216 roundup zikavacine

Three types of vaccine protect monkeys from Zika virus

With the Zika virus rampaging through Brazil, researchers the world over have been scrambling to find a vaccine. Here are a few reported since the outbreak last year. Read more

1216 roundup threeparentbaby
Vladimir Nenov / EyeEm / Getty Images

First ‘three-parent’ baby born

The first baby conceived using DNA from three people to stop mitochondrial disease has been born in Mexico, according to research presented in September. Read more

1216 roundup rosetta
ESA / ATG medialab

Comet-chaser Rosetta ends its mission with a soft thud

After two years keeping Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko company, the European Space Agency’s mission drew to a close in October. Read more

1216 roundup warratyidig

Australian dig shows signs of earliest human habitation

The first people in Australia travelled through the arid interior 10,000 years earlier than we previously thought, according to a November study. Read more

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