2 January – A study published in Science shows evidence that a protein partially assembles another protein without genetic instructions. Defying textbook science, amino acids (the building blocks of a protein) can be assembled by another protein and without genetic instructions.
Researchers have developed a compound that causes the metabolism of mice to respond as if a meal has been eaten, so they burn fat to make room for new calories. Human trials could follow within two years.
Humans are eroding soil a hundred times faster than natural processes, according to a new study.
If global warming is to be kept below 2 °C this century, then over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves are "unburnable" a new study concludes.
A review article published in the journal Neuron describes a number of recent studies showing that brain imaging can help predict a person's future learning, criminality, health-related behaviors, and response to drug or behavioral treatments.
By recreating the conditions on Earth during the Chicxulub impact, researchers have concluded that the heat pulse nearer the crater was too short-lived (less than a minute) to ignite significant amounts of plant matter. By contrast, regions much further away would have experienced less intense, but longer-lived heat levels (up to seven minutes), long enough to ignite plant matter. This challenges previous theories about global firestorms in the aftermath of the event.
As part of the Open Worm Project, scientists have mapped the brain of a roundworm (C. elegans), created software to mimic its nervous system and uploaded it to a lego robot, which seeks food and avoids obstacles.
Chemists determine that alkali metals explode on contact with water due to a Coulomb explosion at the water-metal interface driving the reaction, instead of merely due to Hydrogen gas formation and its subsequent ignition. This overturns what was previously considered to be a well understood phenomenon, and has the potential to increase safety when handling reactive metals.
NASA reports that the Kepler spacecraft confirmed five sub-earth-sized rockyexoplanets, all smaller than the planet Venus (but bigger than the planet Mercury), in orbit around the 11.2 billion year old star Kepler-444, making this planetary system, at more than 80% of the age of the universe, the oldest yet discovered. According to NASA, no life as we know it could exist on these hot exoplanets, due to their close orbital distances to the host star.
28 January – An ingredient found in green tea may protect against oral cancer, according to Penn State University researchers.
29 January – Global warming will result in large storms becoming larger, rather than an increase in the number of storms, concludes a study by the University of Toronto.
The British government votes to allow a controversial new technique involving babies created from three people. If passed by the House of Lords, the UK will become the first country in the world to offer this medical procedure, which can be used to treat mitochondrial diseases.
Scientists have genetically reprogrammed plants to be drought tolerant in response to an already existing agrochemical, circumventing the need for a new chemical that would otherwise have required many years of testing.
E-cigarettes cause many of the same harmful effects as normal cigarettes, according to a new study on mice.
5 February – The first generation of stars is now thought to have emerged 560 million years after the Big Bang, according to scientists working on the European Planck satellite. This is 140 million years later than the previous estimate of 420 million years.
6 February – Iranian nanotechnologists discovered key to measure species in liquids. In this study, the aim was to withdraw and measure vitamin B12 from liquid models.
9 February – Researchers have extracted isopropanol fuel from genetically engineered bacteria and solar-powered catalysts, achieving the same efficiency as photosynthesis.
NASA scientists present the notion that comets are like "deep fried ice cream", since research studies suggest comet surfaces are formed of a mixture of organic compounds and dense crystlline ice, while comet interiors contain colder and less dense ice.
Iranian and Finnish researchers made a magnetic nanosorbent that adsorbs 60-100% of nitrate and nitrite in the sample of soil and water.
Iranian scientists planned a new technique to cure of Wilson's disease. The study gave a modern nano-arrangement with more healing skill in cell culture form. The nanostructure consists of a bio well-matched polymeric nanocarrier that facilitates the penetration into the cell without making of toxicity with high effectiveness.
4 March – A 2.8 million-year-old jawbone may be the oldest human fossil in existence, according to two papers published simultaneously in Science. Researchers now suspect that Homo (the genus that includes modern humans) dates back at least 400,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Evidence for a vast, ancient ocean that once covered most of the northern hemisphere on Mars is reported by NASA.
Astronomers have discovered the fastest known star, which is being ejected from the galaxy by a supernova explosion. Its hypervelocity of 1,200 km/s (2.7 million mph) is high enough to escape the gravitational pull of the Milky Way.
The number of people affected by river flooding could nearly triple by 2030, according to a new analysis.
17 March – Lava tubes big enough to house entire cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
NASA reports the detection of an aurora that is not fully understood and an unexplained dust cloud in the atmosphere of the planet Mars.
A 30-year land-based study of the Amazon, the most extensive ever conducted, shows the rainforest is gradually losing its ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, as trees die at faster and faster rates.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that Arctic sea ice reached its lowest ever maximum extent.
Scientists report on a genetic modification that can spread much quicker than conventional genetics would allow, copying itself to other chromosomes with CRISPRs. Possible applications include malaria-resistant mosquitos.
Scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urge a worldwide moratorium on using gene editing methods to genetically engineer the human genome in a way that can be inherited, writing "scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans" until the full implications "are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations."
Iranian researchers reduce costly materials from diabetesdiagnosis sensors. They devised and created a non-enzyme biosensor at the laboratorial scale to notice diabetes.
The ice around the edge of Antarctica is melting faster than previously thought, researchers have warned.
A nanoparticle therapy has been shown to accelerate the healing of wounds by 50 percent.
A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections – containing onion, garlic and part of a cow's stomach – has been shown to completely wipe out Staphylococcus aureus, the antibiotic-resistant superbug known as MRSA.
Eating pesticide-laden foods is linked to remarkably low sperm count (49% lower), say Harvard scientists in a landmark new study connecting pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables to reproductive health.
Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that successfully prompted parts of mice bodies to generate new blood vessels. It is hoped this technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves to repair themselves and help transplanted organs to thrive.
1 April – New research reveals that, as the Arctic region warms and melts, polar bears forced ashore will be unable to gain sufficient food on land. Two-thirds of polar bears could be lost by 2050 and the species could be extinct by 2100.
2 April – Northwestern Medicine scientists identify a small RNA molecule called miR-182 that can suppress cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma mulitforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor.
6 April – Glaciers in Western Canada will lose 70 percent of their volume by 2100, according to a study by the University of British Columbia.
7 April – Scientists from Iran research on a new method to let users to scan 3D photos with only their smartphone. The result was published in a media titled Nanophotonic coherent imager in the February 2015 issue of Optics Express.
DARPA announces a new project that aims to create a computer program able to continuously scan its environment, evolving and adapting autonomously for the next 100 years.
Complex organic molecules have been detected in a young star system for the first time.
Following groundbreaking studies on mice, American scientists claim to have found a potential cause of Alzheimer's disease in the behaviour of immune cells, which it may be possible to target with drug treatments.
Researchers uncover evidence of a cannibalistic ritual that occurred in a British cave roughly 14,700 years ago.
A major advance in artificial photosynthesis is achieved with a system able to capture CO2 using solar energy and then use it to produce valuable chemical products.
Two critical steps towards a practical quantum computer are achieved by IBM scientists, who demonstrate the ability to detect and measure both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously, as well as building a new, square quantum bit circuit design that is the only physical architecture that could successfully scale to larger dimensions.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft concludes its four-year orbital mission over Mercury by crashing into the planet at a velocity of approximately 14,080 km/h (8,750 mph), impacting at 54.4° N, 149.9° W, near the crater Janáček.
Tesla Motors reveals a new large-scale battery technology for homes and businesses, which will provide a means of storing energy from localised renewables and a reliable backup system during power outages.
Progeria researchers have shown how the disorganisation of DNA contributes to the cell disorder and is linked to aspects of aging.
15 May: The Opah is confirmed as the first known warm-blooded fish.
Atmospheric CO2 remained above 400 parts per million (ppm) throughout March 2015, the first time it has been at this level for an entire month, according to NOAA. The current concentration of greenhouse gases is the highest it has been for millions of years.
New evidence has been uncovered that global warming will damage wheat yields, resulting in a 15 percent loss when average temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius and a 40 percent decline when average temperatures rise by 4 degrees.
13 May – For the first time, the phase brightness variations in exoplanets have been measured to see the day-night cycle of exoplanetary weather dynamics.
14 May – Researchers confirm that strong warming is taking place in the upper troposphere, a phenomenon long predicted in global warming theory and climate models.
Larsen B and C, a pair of ice shelves in the Antarctic, are reportedly at risk of collapse in the near future, potentially adding several centimetres to global sea levels.
Researchers have taken a step towards large-scale fabrication of graphene, using chemical vapor deposition to produce composites containing 2-inch-by-2-inch sheets of the material.
The opah is confirmed as the first known "warm-blooded" fish, able to regulate the temperature of its entire body.
Scientists have observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The ice loss is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.
22 May – Researchers have developed algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks through trial and error using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn, marking a major milestone in the field of artificial intelligence.
3 June: Reactivation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
25 May – A new technique to create a single-molecule diode has been developed by scientists, and, in doing so, they have developed molecular diodes that perform 50 times better than all prior designs.
27 May – Glacier volume in the Everest region of the Himalayas could be reduced between 70% and 99% by 2100, unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, according to a new study by the European Geosciences Union.
28 May – A new species of ancient hominid – Australopithecus deyiremeda – is uncovered in Ethiopia, with jaw bones and teeth dating to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old.
Researchers have developed a new shape-memory material that stays strong even after tens of millions of transformations.
A new version of the Cheetah robot has been demonstrated with the ability to jump over obstacles while running.
Researchers have discovered a key protein required to maintain muscle mass and muscle strength during aging.
For the first time, researchers have created a lab-grown limb of a rat.
California-based Tri Alpha Energy has shown a 10-fold improvement in its ability to contain the hot particles needed for fusion.
The Large Hadron Collider is reactivated after a two-year pause, during which upgrades and repairs were taking place. The machine is now able to experiment with higher energies, increasing from 8 to 13 trillion electron volts (TeV).
Using new global surface temperature data, scientists at NOAA have shown that the rate of global warming in the last 15 years has not slowed, eliminating the "hiatus".
For the first time, a computer intelligence without direct human help has produced a model of regeneration.
Warming ocean temperatures and decreasing oxygen levels will significantly shift marine habitats in the future, according to a study by the University of Washington.
The world's thinnest light source is created using graphene.
18 June – By reactivating a single gene, colorectal cancer cells in mice stop growing and re-establish normal intestinal function within four days, according to a study published in the journal Cell.
19 June – A major study confirms that Earth is currently witnessing the start of a mass extinction event the likes of which have not been seen for at least 65 million years. It is being precipitated by human actions over the past 500 years.
20 June – A titanium 3D-printed prosthetic jaw is successfully implanted in a male patient by surgeons in Melbourne, Australia.
23 June – The Sentinel-2A Earth observation satellite is launched.
Astronomers report the discovery of a brand new type of planet, resembling a giant comet. GJ 436b is a "warm Neptune" located 33 light years from Earth and features a huge cloud of gas trailing away from its parent red dwarf star.
Researchers identify a protein on tiny particles, GPC1+ crExos, released by pancreatic cancer cells, which may help in detecting the illness at its earliest stage.
The latest global analysis of temperature data from NOAA shows that the first half of 2015 was the hottest such period on record, at 0.85 °C (1.53 °F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09 °C (0.16 °F). The Earth also experienced its hottest ever June.
Men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index according to a new, large-scale study that tracked more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period. Men who didn't become dads actually lost weight over the same time period.
A new computer program is the first to recognise sketches more accurately than a human.
A provocative new paper by climate scientists including James Hansen warns that future sea level rises may have been dramatically underestimated, and that even 2 °C of global warming is "highly dangerous".
Intel and Micron unveil 3D XPoint, a new memory technology that is 1,000 times faster than NAND and 10 times denser than conventional DRAM.
24 July – The 133-million-year-old fossil of Tetrapodophis amplectus, the first four-legged snake to be found, is reported by paleontologists in Brazil.
The current world population of 7.3 billion is predicted to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new analysis of data by the UN.
The first artificial ribosome is created, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University.
31 July: An
ebola vaccine is found to be 100% successful in an initial trial.
Astronomers report the discovery of HD 219134 b, a rocky exoplanet, due to its size of 1.6 Earth and density of 6 g/cm3, that is the closest such exoplanet to Earth, at 21.25 light-years away.
A new technique for obtaining nanoscale images of the brain at higher resolution than ever before is announced by Boston scientists.
An ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada is found to be 100% successful in an initial trial.
By studying the structure and temperature of butterfly wings, researchers have observed physical properties that could hugely improve the efficiency of solar energy.
Glacier loss worldwide is reported to be "unprecedented" and occurring faster than ever.
Researchers have demonstrated that even if a geoengineering solution to CO2 emissions could be found, it would not be enough to save the oceans.
A new comprehensive analysis of global glacier changes in the Journal of Glaciology concludes that melting rates are "unprecedented" and faster than ever.
Spicy foods are linked to increased longevity in a study published by the British Medical Journal.
Plans are unveiled by Plymouth University for "Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship" (MARS), the world's first full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The first ever genetic analysis of people with extremely high intelligence reveals small but important genetic differences between some of the brightest people in the United States and the general population.
10 August – By measuring the energy output from a large portion of the Universe with greater precision than ever before, astronomers have determined that the Universe is gradually fading across all wavelengths. In effect, the Universe is slowly dying.
By altering a single gene, phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), researchers have increased the intelligence of mice, while decreasing their fear and anxiety. This raises hopes of better treatments for human cognitive disorders in the future.
NASA scientists report that the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument on the Curiosity rover detected an unusual hydrogen-rich area, at "Marias Pass," on Mars. The hydrogen found seems related to water or hydroxyl ions in rocks within three feet beneath the rover, according to the scientists.
People working a 55-hour week have a 33% increased risk of stroke than those working a 35- to 40-hour week, along with a 13% increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a study published in The Lancet.
Using stem cells, researchers have developed a miniature human brain in a dish with the equivalent maturity of a five-week-old fetus. It is believed this model – the most advanced of its kind ever created – could be used for better and more accurate testing of drugs.
24 August: A new way of "switching off" cancer cell growth, using the PLEKHA7 protein, is reported by the Mayo Clinic.
July 2015 was the hottest month on Earth since records began in 1880, according to data from NOAA.
A new report in the journal Science underscores the need for improved management and protection of boreal forests in response to global changes this century.
28 August – In a landmark study of scientific reproducibility published in Science, a group of 270 psychologists attempted to directly replicate 100 psychology studies from three top-tier psychological journals and found that about one-third to one-half of the original findings could be successfully reproduced.
31 August – Scientists claim to have discovered the first new human prion in almost 50 years.
Paleontologists report a new human-like species, Homo naledi, based on the discovery of 15 partial skeletons, the largest single find of its type in Africa. It is believed that H. naledi could have lived in Africa up to three million years ago and were capable of ritualistic behaviour. Although the discoverers claim the bones represent a new species of early humans, other experts contend that more evidence is needed before such a claim can be justified.
A report by scientists, ethicists and policy experts from the Hinxton Group states that research into genetically modified human embryos is "essential" and that GM babies could be "morally acceptable" in the future.
NASA releases the first clear images of Pluto's small moon Nix, showing rough edges and a prominent crater.
A study by the British Psychological Society warns that constant pressure on teenagers to use social media technology causes lower sleep quality, lower self-esteem, higher anxiety and increased depression levels.
Through DARPA, a 28-year-old paralysed man becomes the first person to feel physical sensations through a prosthetic hand directly connected to his brain.
A study by WWF and the Zoological Society of London finds that populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970. The report highlights tuna and mackerel as in a particularly dire state, having declined 74%.
Tiny carbon-capturing motors are developed at the University of California, potentially offering a way to absorb carbon dioxide from the oceans.
A paraplegic American man walks again using a computer system that reroutes signals from his brain to electrodes on his knees.
Scientists build a wrench just 1.7 nanometers wide, providing a fundamentally new way to control the shape of molecules.
28 September: After a review of evidence from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA concluded that liquid water occurs on present day Mars.
27 September – A total lunar eclipse, dubbed a "supermoon" because of its apparent larger size in the sky, takes place over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. The next supermoon eclipse will not occur until October 2033.
Because of warming oceans, king crabs threaten to overrun Antarctic marine ecosystems within a few decades, according to research by the Florida Institute of Technology.
29 September – Researchers develop a new test, ViroCap, that can detect nearly any virus known to infect humans and animals. The researchers are making the technology publicly available worldwide, for the benefit of patients and research.
1 October – IBM announces a breakthrough that could accelerate the replacement of silicon transistors with carbon nanotubes and work down to 1.8 nm node sizes.
8 October: A third global
coral bleaching event is announced, likely to be the worst on record.
Fusion reactors could be economically viable within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according to research by Durham University.
Nearly one-third of cacti species face extinction, according to the first comprehensive global assessment, largely due to illegal trade and other human activity.
Researchers build a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time, making calculations between two qubits of information possible – and thereby clearing the final hurdle to making silicon quantum computers a reality.
Scientists confirm that a third global coral bleaching event is underway that is likely to be the most intense ever recorded.
Up to 1 billion people are at risk of blindness by 2050, according to researchers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute.
Following a comprehensive, 10-year effort, researchers identify 238 genes that affect aging in yeast cells.
Astronomers discover V774104, an object which initially appeared to have a 103 AU distance from the Sun, which would have made it the furthest known object from the sun. Upon public release of the object in March 2018, it was only 90 AU from the Sun, making it only the third furthest known object.
Scientists achieve a breakthrough in finding a general cure for cancer by attaching malaria proteins to cancer cells, which appears effective on 90% of cancer types. Human trials are expected to begin within four years.
Researchers at Stockholm University develop a material for capturing CO2 in the presence of water.
Chattanooga announces that a public utility will offer the world's first 10 gigabit broadband service across a large community-wide territory.
Sulfur-limonene polysulphide is used to synthesise a new material able to cheaply and efficiently absorb mercury pollution from soils and water.
Researchers in California use big data to identify over 100 novel cancer driver genes.
Sunscreen chemicals such as oxybenzone may be contributing to the decline of coral reefs popular with tourists, according to a study by the University of Central Florida.
23 October: Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere.
The first direct observation of a solar system being torn apart by a white dwarf is described in the journal Nature. The star, known as WD 1145+017, is transited by at least one, and probably several, disintegrating planetesimals, with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours.
22 October – A new gene therapy cures muscular dystrophy in dogs, with human trials expected to follow in the next few years, according to researchers at the University of Missouri.
Hurricane Patricia becomes the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Western Hemisphere in terms of barometric pressure and the strongest globally in terms of maximum sustained winds.
U.S. physicists use lasers to create positrons – the antiparticle of electrons – in record numbers and density.
A new study by MIT predicts that extreme heatwaves will make large parts of the Gulf region intolerable for humans in the late 21st century.
Researchers at the University of Bristol create a tractor beam using "holograms" made of sound waves, able to move small objects from up to 40 cm away.
Using computer models of geoengineering, a study in PNAS shows that a halving of Katrina-sized hurricanes over the next half century might be possible, but only if a new and safer aerosol can be found.
4 November – New Horizons completes the last in a series of four maneuvers putting it on course for a rendezvous with 2014 MU69 in January 2019, a billion miles beyond Pluto. This propulsive maneuver is the most distant trajectory correction ever performed by any spacecraft.
A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, is identified by scientists at the University of California.
In a world first, gene-edited immune cells are used to treat ‘incurable’ leukaemia in a one-year-old girl.
Stem cell scientists at the University Health Network identify an entirely new "two tier" process of how blood is made, overturning decades of established science. The researchers claim their finding could lead to radically improved and personalised treatments for blood disorders.
MIT invents an efficient new shockwave-based process for the desalination of water.
The huge Zachariae Isstromglacier in Greenland, which holds enough water to raise global sea levels by half a metre, is reported to be melting and crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean.
Scientists report that Haramiyavia, a type of Haramiyida living about 200 million years ago and at first thought to be the earliest known herbivores among very early mammals, may not have been mammals after all, but part of a more ancestral side branch instead.
Scientists develop a self-healing, flexible sensor that mimics the self-healing properties of human skin. Incidental scratches or cuts to the sensors "heal" themselves in less than one day.
University of Washington engineers report the development of a novel technology that uses a Wi-Fi router to power devices.
Astronomers at the University of Arizona capture the first image of an exoplanet being formed in a protoplanetary disk. The object, LkCa 15 b, is located 450 light years away, orbiting a young star named LkCa15.
University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers have created a greatly improved implementation of CRISPR with potentially far reaching implications.
23 November – The genome of the tardigrade is published, revealing that 17.5% is foreign DNA (from other organisms). It is the only animal able to survive in the vacuum of space.
24 November – A review of scientific literature by Bristol University finds no substantive evidence of a "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming.
25 November – By switching off, one by one, almost 18,000 genes — 90 per cent of the entire human genome — scientists at the University of Toronto identify genes that are essential for cell survival.
30 November – The U.S. Geological Survey predicts that between 16 and 24 percent of Alaskanpermafrost will disappear by 2100.
1–3 December – The International Summit on Human Gene Editing is held in Washington.
Blood vessel-like structures found in an 80 million-year-old hadrosaur fossil are confirmed to be original to the animal, and not biofilm or other contaminants.
A new "Polarised 3D" system developed by MIT can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices 1,000-fold.
Epson debuts "PaperLab", the world's first office papermaking system that turns waste paper into new sheets.
2 December – A new mass spectral imaging device at Colorado State University allows 3-D mapping of cellular composition at a resolution of 75 nanometres wide and 20 nanometres deep — more than 100 times higher than was previously possible.
Disney Research unveils "FaceDirector", a new method of synthesising an actor's facial performances in post-production to get just the right emotion, instead of re-shooting the scene multiple times.
14 December – A new atomic force microscope is announced by MIT, capable of scanning images 2,000 times faster than existing commercial models. This allows it to operate with near-real-time video speed to capture structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer from single strands of DNA down to individual hydrogen bonds.
Two teams of physicists, working independently at CERN, report preliminary hints of a possible new subatomic particle (more specifically, the ATLAS and CMS experiments, using 13 TeV proton collision data, showed a moderate excess around 750 GeV, in the two-photon spectrum): if real, the particle could be either a heavier version of a Higgs boson or a graviton.
A new world record for the smallest inkjet image is announced, after researchers in Switzerland used quantum dots to produce a 0.0092 mm2 (80 µm x 115 µm) colour photo of tropical clown fish at a resolution of 25,000 dpi.
16 December – Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors, and not largely down to bad luck, a study by medical scientists suggests. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, minimizing alcohol and eliminating smoking reduces the risk of developing the disease, according to researchers.
17 December – Researchers develop a new Big Data statistical method, known as iGWAS, which identifies five longevityloci associated with healthy aging.
In response to the dramatic decline of lion populations in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces two lion subspecies as endangered and threatened. Panthera leo leo, found in India and Africa, is listed as endangered, and Panthera leo melanochaita, in eastern and southern Africa, is listed as threatened.
22 December – NASA delays the launch of the InSight mission to Mars in March 2016, due to an air leak in one of the primary scientific instruments. The mission was launched in May 2018.
28 December – Scientists report the discovery of a new type of basaltic rock, rich in ilmenite, a black mineral, on the moon by Chang’e-3, a Chinese spacecraft that landed on the moon in 2013.
UNESCO Medal for the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Valentin Bukhtoyarov, Constance Chang-Hasnain, Soodabeh Davaran, Vladimir Fortov, Mikhail Kovalchuk, Tebello Nyokong, Mikhail Selyanin and Shem Wandiga.
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