This year saw a number of scientific breakthroughs with world changing consequences.

Nasa launched its Parker Solar Probe to carry out an unprecedented study of the sun, while in October healthy mice were born with two genetic mothers.

However, his research is yet to be verified by anyone else.

It is impossible to say precisely what 2019 will have in store but below are a number of predictions and likely events that could prove groundbreaking.


Genetically-modified superhorses will be born

It was revealed in late December 2017 that scientists in Argentina had successfully rewritten the genomes of cloned horses.

Those foals are set to be born this year and will reputedly be faster, stronger and better jumpers than their normally conceived counterparts.

The team used a technique called Crispr to edit the DNA and had planned to implant the healthy embryos in a surrogate mother within two years.


We could see what a black hole looks like for the first time

You might assume that since you've heard a lot about black holes, we might have seen one already.

But the reality is that scientists have never been able to successfully picture one, that is until next year anyway.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has already made its first observations of the supermassive blackhole at the centre of our galaxy.

According to New Scientist , those observations could well include the first ever picture.


SpaceX could launch with Nasa astronauts on boar

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has been developed as a replacement for Nasa's space shuttles to ferry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station.

If an uncrewed test flight is successful in January then a test flight with astronauts will take place later in the year.

The test next month will see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carry the capsule before it docks with the space station and returns to earth.


Could we see the arrival of a universal flu shot

Science News writer Aimee Cunningham has speculated whether 2019 could see the arrival of the first universal flu vaccine.

It was reported last month how such a development had entered the Phase 3 trial stage ahead of the winter season.

The shot would mean that vaccines that protect against the previous year's strains would not be outdated.

It could potentially protect against seasonal flu for years or the outbreak of a pandemic.

According to The Scientist it has taken 20 years to get to this stage so whether there is a solution in the near future remains to be seen.


A new dawn in moon exploration

2018 could end with a Chinese probe landing on the dark side of the moon - this would be the first ever soft-landing on the lunar body's far side.

But the nation has ambitions to catch up with the US and Russia as major space powers by 2030 and the current mission doesn't represent its only venture to the moon next year.

Another craft, that is apparently set to launch in 2019, will bring the first ever lunar rocks back to the moon since 1976.

The two missions represent the start of a renewed interest in trying to reach the moon's surface with the US aiming to have astronauts touch down in the late 2020s.

By Belfast Live