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tv   Review 2016  BBC News  December 26, 2016 9:30am-10:01am GMT

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millions of shoppers are expected to hit the high street today as the traditional boxing day sales get under way. almost £3 billion is expected to be spent at the tills, with a further £900 million spent online. now on bbc news, rebecca morelle looks back on the year in science — from british astronaut tim peake‘s adventures in space to a discovery that will transform our understanding of the universe. that's review 2016: the year in science. from the mission of a lifetime, this was the year british astronaut tim peake spent six months in space. to a colossal feat of engineering. in 2016, the world's largest radio telescope was unveiled. we also learned about the secret life of seals
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and what they get up to underwater. and saw advances in a controversial new genetic technique. human organs are growing inside these pigs. this was also the year a global climate deal came into force but the election of donald trump placed a question mark over its future. and after decades of searching, scientists have detected gravitational waves. it's been called the discovery of the century, making 2016 a truly momentous year for science. i'm here at thejodrell bank observatory in the north of england. for more than half a century, scientists have been using this vast telescope to gaze up into the heavens, transforming our understanding of the universe. but some people have been lucky enough to experience the wonders
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of space first—hand. this year it was the turn of british astronaut tim peake. blasting off, the start of a remarkable mission. tim peake was on his way. he was heading for the space station tojoin its international crew for the next six months. the first british astronaut now on board the international space station. in his first live broadcast, he said the experience was out of this world. we always talk about seeing the view of planet earth and how beautiful it is. but, when you look the opposite direction and you see how dark space is, the blackest black and you realise how small the earth is in that blackness. his space moves, though, still needed a bit of work.
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practise makes perfect. but before long, tim got a chance to put on his space suit and head outside, joining nasa astronaut tim kopra for a spacewalk. tim, it's really cool seeing the unionjack going outside. it's explored all over the world and now it's explored space. thanks, scott. it's great to be wearing it. the task was to carry out essential repairs. at 400 kilometres above the earth, what better place to take a selfie! science was also key for this european space agency mission. tim became a human guinea pig, seeing how the body changes in this weightless environment. he even found time to squeeze in the london marathon, and, of course, perfected his somersault. but after six months, it was time to say goodbye and head home. undocking confirmed.
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strapped into the soyuz capsule, tim and his crew mates began their dissent. awaiting them, a support team circling above the grassy plains of kazakhstan. then, suddenly, above the clouds, the capsule appeared. and, with a firing of its thrusters, it finally touched down. tim was back. weak after six months in space, but happy to be home. just truly elated. just the smells of earth. they're so strong. and it's wonderful to be back in the fresh air. really good. hey, guys. since his return, tim's been meeting schoolchildren around the uk. welcome for tim peake. it's been pea ke—mania. he hopes his mission mightjust inspire the next generation to reach for the stars. jodrell bank was built back
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in the 1950s, and this dish is nearly 80 metres wide. at the time, the biggest ever built. but in china, the government is investing heavily in science and they've decided it's time for their own record—breaker, a radio telescope that's half a kilometre across. hidden in the remote mountains of south—west china, a new giant of science. this is the largest radio telescope ever built. earlier this year, as it neared completion, i was given rare access and a chance for a view unlike any other. it's only when you get up close that you really get a sense of this things scale. it's simply colossal. but bigger is better when it comes to astronomy. because the larger the dish,
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the more signals can be collected from space, helping us to see deeper into the universe than ever before. in china, astronomy, we are far behind the world. but i think it is time for us to build something in china and used by a lot of chinese users, and also welcome the international users. the telescope works by listening to radio waves emitted from the cosmos. the dish is so big it will reveal the first stars and galaxies and even hunt for signs of extraterrestrial life. building it has taken the chinese just five years. and at a cost of $180 million, it is part of the country's unprecedented investment in science, that's on the verge of outstripping even the us. by september, the final pieces were slotted into place. and the telescope was switched on.
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china is now hoping its super—sized project will transform it into a world science leader. for the medical world it's also been a year of breakthroughs. these are miniature brains. called organoids, they‘ re grown from a single cell, donated by patients. and they're helping scientists to understand the origins of mental illness. we can actually compare the organoids to the patient and see if we can see some of the features of the disorder and try to understand what caused those features. i think it's a really huge step toward some hopefully really amazing breakthroughs in what has been a desert in the field of biomedicine. and in poland, this man was completely paralysed from the chest down. now he's relearning how to use his legs.
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two years ago he had a cell transplant to repair his spinal cord. now scientists want to see if these outstanding results can be repeated in others. and, in america, the technology called gene editing is pushing the boundaries. here, human stem cells are being injected into a pig embryo. scientists are attempting to grow a human pancreas inside a pig. our hope is that this pig embryo will develop normally. but the pancreas will be made up almost exclusively out of human cells. so that then that pancreas could be compatible with a patient for transplantation. these pigs are pregnant with the embryos. they won't reach full term. they will be removed after a month and carefully analysed. with every organ we try to make — be it kidney, liver or lung,
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we will look at what is happening in the brain. if we find it is too human—like, we won't let those foetuses be born. the hope is this technology could eventually solve organ shortages, but it also raises profound ethical questions. in 2016, we've also been learning about the inhabitants of our oceans. these incredible animals were found in the mariana trench, as scientists explored the deepest place on the planet. and an animal that's a record—brea ker. scientists believe the greenland shark can reach 400 years old, making it the world's longest living vertebrate. and this year, we learned about the secret lives of seals. beneath the waves, these animals are a mystery.
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they spend two thirds of their time in the water. but down here, they have been little studied. we travelled to their home in the north of england, the farne islands. it's a grey seal haven. can you see them up on the land? yeah. all the pups. baby seals! yeah. and it was a chance to join these animals in the freezing north sea. the animals seemed as interested in us as we were in them. it is cold, but if you want to study these incredible animals up close, you do have to get into the water. around the coast of the uk, nearly 40% of the world's grey seals live here. and there are 5000 of them here in the farne islands. this is ben, who has been diving
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with seals for years. now he is capturing them on camera. recording behaviour that surprisingly has never been seen before. what we are seeing is a lot of mating behaviour under water, down to depths of nearly eight metres. a lot of bull seal activity where they will wrestle each other, pushing each other and turning each other. by having these competitions underwater, whether that reduces that conflict on the land, whether they remember that behaviour. we are getting an intriguing glimpse of a hidden world. understanding these animals could be the key to keeping their population thriving. with this beautiful and intricate model, you can see our solar system at a glance and explore how the planets move around the sun. but there is one world that dominates all others, that's jupiter. it's the biggest planet in our solar system and this year it had a new visitor. beneath its swirling clouds, jupiter
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is a world shrouded in mystery. these images, though spectacular, were taken from afar. and nasa wanted to see this giant up close. three, two, one. ignition, and lift off. in 2011, the mission blasted off. the spacecraft called juno embarking on an epicjourney. as it neared its destination, it faced its biggest challenge. to get into orbit, it had to slam on its brakes and survive everything jupiter could throw at it, including its deadly radiation. whenjuno goes into orbit around jupiter, we're going to go through a really nasty, hazardous region, radiation belts that are very close to the planet. they are nasty and can destroy and attack all the electronics. so, we have to be careful.
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scientists faced a tense wait at mission control in california to learn the fate of their billion—dollar spacecraft. then, a signal. cheering and applause. the mood is pure elation here. after more than a decade of work and a journey through space, juno is the closest we have ever been to jupiter. we prepared a contingency procedure. guess what? we don't need that any more. and then came the pictures. for the first time, its south pole was revealed. covered in storms, many even bigger than the earth. in the north, it's blanketed by a thick atmosphere. and in this infrared view, at the top you can see
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jupiter's northern lights. and this sound was captured as the spacecraft flew through the spectacular space show. the team's reaction was amazement. look at these images! they are coming from jupiter. we're flying over the pole for the first time. it isjustjaw—dropping. we are expecting more images like this over the course of the mission. scientists sayjupiter is like nothing they have ever seen before. but mars was the destination for the european space agency. the mission had two aims. firstly to get a spacecraft into orbit, which went exactly as planned. scientists also wanted to set down a lander on the planet's surface. but a signal was never sent back to earth. days later, these images revealed a crash site.
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the spacecraft had failed in the final moments of its descent. this year we have been pushing the boundaries of space exploration. our focus has also been very much on our own planet. 2016 has been declared the hottest year on record, putting climate change and how to tackle it in the spotlight once again. this year, our planet united, at least for a while. for the world's countries, a plan to cut greenhouse gases became international law. the groundwork was laid at a climate summit in paris last year. after years of negotiations, an historic global agreement had been reached. countries must now move away from fossil fuels and instead adopt a green energy approach.
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butjust as the paris deal came into force, donald trump was elected as the us president. he once called climate change a hoax. in 2012, he tweeted it was invented by the chinese to harm us businesses. during his campaign, he said this is what he would do. we are going to cancel the paris climate agreement and stop all payments of the united states tax dollars to un global warming programmes. island nations affected by rising sea levels pleaded with him to change his mind. president—elect trump, i formally invite you to fiji and promise you the warmest of welcomes. we will show you how we are already having to move entire communities out of the way of the rising seas. with its reliance on fossil fuels
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like coal, the united states is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. its participation in the global climate deal was seen as vital. no—one knows what trump will do. he has recently appointed a climate sceptic to lead on the environment. some fear the future of the paris deal now looks uncertain. in 2016, protection for the animals living in the icy wilderness of antarctica was also a focus. in october, a great swathe of its ocean was declared a marine protected area, the largest in the world. it is hoped, even for tiny creatures like krill, the foundation of the food chain, the future of this unique and fragile environment will be preserved. and this will be vital for the continent's most charismatic animals.
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these penguins started nesting here just ten years ago. it is thought they may have moved because of climate change. now scientists have set up a network of cameras to monitor them. it shows how the colony is changing, hour by hour, over the course of a year. at another site, scientists are counting the birds but numbers are down. we are here in a colony of penguins. this particular region, this particular species, has seen a decline in the past few decades. those delcines are likely associatd with climate change and there may be a link with competition from fisheries, as in humans obtaining the same food, krill, as these penguins would normally eat. scientists say only by tracking these birds will we see how they fare in this changing world. and coming soon to antarctica, boaty mcboatface, well, almost.
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while the polar research ship was under constrction, the british public overwhelmingly voted for boaty to be its name. the government over ruled them. instead, opting to dedicate the vessel to sir david attenborough, a more fitting title, they said. the public‘s choice will live on. boaty mcboatface is now the name of the ship's robotic submersible. in the world of tech, there was a battle between man and machine. a champion player of the ancient game of go went up against an artificial intelligence programme developed by google‘s deep mind. after four hours, the human resigned. the computer had won. advances in al are also enabling developments in driverless cars.
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this vehicle was made by tesla, a company owned by tech entrepreneur, elon musk. only a car that is not self—driving in the long—term will be like owning a horse. you would own and use it for sentimental reasons but not for daily use, really. but the burgeoning industry came under the spotlight earlier this year. joshua brown was a huge fan of tesla cars and their autopilot feature. it takes all the stress out of it. but his vehicle collided with a lorry and he was killed. it seems his car failed to recognise the truck crossing in front of it on a florida highway. the vehicle's safety features have been upgraded and elon musk maintains they're still safer than a car with a human in control. in 2016, it was time to take
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a last look at this comet, as we said farewell to the european space agency's rosetta mission. it had given us these stunning images, revealing an alien world in incredible detail. two years before, scientists attempted something many thought was impossible. landing a robot on the comet's surface. it was a moment of space history in the making. fantastic! the robot stopped working after a few days but it did manage to collect vital data. continuing the mission was the rosetta mothership, which remained in orbit around the comet. this year its power began to fade
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and it was time to bring the mission to a close. the spacecraft would go out with a crash landing. the rosetta spacecraft was designed to fly to the comet, around the comet, but not to land on it. there is no doubt that as soon as it touches down, it is going to be destroyed. it gives scientists the chance to squeeze every last drop of science out of this mission. all the way down it will be taking close—up photos and collecting data. we will be listening for the signal from rosetta. this time the mood was emotional, as scientists waited for rosetta to defend. —— descend. the signal vanishing forever. and so, this is the end of the rosetta mission. thank you and goodbye. it is like rip rosetta. it's really sad, really, really sad. the legacy lives on. you just know when you do these things it comes to an end. but, you know, it is the end
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in a long, long mission. but with more than 100,000 photos a nd cou ntless scientific observations, the work for the team is not over. the mission has captured the world's imagination and we may well be hearing about its discoveries for years to come. for researchers at this observatory, and around the world, 2016 is a year that will go down in history. after decades of searching, scientists finally discovered gravitational waves — invisible ripples that pass through our cosmos. it is a breakthrough of simply astronomical proportions. it all started with albert einstein. this is the equation behind his theory of general relativity, conceived 100 years ago. a pillar of modern science.
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it told us everything from the motion of the planets to the presence of black holes. but this year, the final piece of einstein's puzzle was found. we have detected gravitational waves. we did it. the idea is, as any object moves through the fabric of the universe, it gives off waves of gravitational energy, much like the ripples that emanate across the surface of the water when you throw a stone into a pond. and the ones we have spotted emanated from this cataclysmic event which took place 1.3 billion light years away. two black holes moving ever closer together. eventually they smashed into one another, merging. the collision generated a surge of gravitational ripples that eventually reached earth. they were spotted by this vast
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experiment in america. tunnels carrying laser beams, sensitive enough to pick up the minute disturbances caused by the oscillations. these black holes actually spiralled in over a billion years ago. the signal has been travelling to us since then and we turned on our detectors atjust the right time to detect it arriving. it is a discovery that not only provides another feather in einstein's cap. he has been proved right once again. it also heralds in a new era in science. gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the universe. the ability to detect them as the dead shall to revolutionise astronomy. —— has the potential. until now, even our most advanced telescopes could show us only a fraction of the cosmos. the rest was dark, unseen. now we can detect gravitational
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waves, we will be able to look deeper into space and further back in time than ever before, perhaps all the way to the big bang. we end the year with a brand—new perspective of the universe, one that will usher in new discoveries for decades to come. good morning. if you spent yesterday eating a bit too much and need a war it off today, a cracking day for it across southern parts of the uk. not only are the winds light, it is crisp and fresh and many of you have skies like this, captured by a weather watcher in east sussex. by contrast, a white christmas came almost a day too late for some in scotland. that was taken in parts of aberdeenshire in the past few hours
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but it is notjust about the wintry showers. the wind is also strong. storm, is passing. the met office warning across shetland and 0rkney to be prepared forfurther disruption to travel and potential damage. widespread gales across scotland, too. winds gusting in excess scotland, too. winds gusting in excess of 70 mph across the hebrides. really pushing in the showers, five to ten centimetres of fresh snow possible. a few showers for northern ireland and parts of northern england but lots of sunny weather to come throughout boxing day further south. although winds will be starting to ease a touch, we could still see winds gusting in excess could still see winds gusting in excess of 70 mph in the far north and north—east. further south, the showers keep going, a mixture of rain, sleet and snow. 0ne showers keep going, a mixture of rain, sleet and snow. one or two showers in northern ireland at this stage but most places a bit dry. cumbria, durham, teesside brenda showers but in england and wales,
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the perfect walking afternoon, winds light, and blue skies overhead. it is colder than it was on christmas day and with a cold day, certainly a cold night in store. strong winds we i’e cold night in store. strong winds were time across northern scotland but they will gradually eased down. 0ccasional rain across the far north throughout the night but away from that, clear skies, light throughout the night but away from that, clearskies, light winds throughout the night but away from that, clear skies, light winds and temperature is dropping widely, maybe —6 —7 across parts of the midlands and into southern england. a crisp, frosty start to your tuesday, another great day to get out and about. one or two spots of rain across the far north of scotla nd rain across the far north of scotland but most places dry, winds light and skies will be primarily of the sunny variety. debord is tomorrow much like today, around six 01’ tomorrow much like today, around six or seven. take away the strong winds, and when feel quite as chilly. 0n winds, and when feel quite as chilly. on wednesday, not only will we see some chilly. on wednesday, not only will
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we see some frost but across eastern areas, some dense patches of fog. this is bbc news. i'm joanna gosling. the headlines at ten: # i don't want your freedom... tributes to the singer george michael, one of the biggest stars in british music, who has died at the age of 53. his death has shocked fans around the world, as flowers and candles are left outside his home. former wham! band mate andrew ridgley said he was "heartbroken at the loss" of his "beloved friend". russia begins a day of mourning for those who died when a military plane crashed into the black sea. the former governor of the bank of england, lord king, says britain should be more self—confident about leaving the eu. also this hour: shoppers head out for the boxing day sales. millions of bargain hunters are expected to hit the high street, although footfall may be down due to pre—christmas discounts.
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