Glaciers Cooler Than Mars and Genomes

Melting glaciers and global warming lead Discovery's list of 'Top Discoveries of the Decade'

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Discovery News just released a list of their Top 10 Discoveries (ha) of the Decade, and glaciers came in at #1, but not because they’re just cool. In fact, it’s the opposite: Rapidly melting glaciers served as the harbinger for climate change, which currently commands a large portion of the news cycle (here on BACKPACKER, too) and stands as one the great problems facing humanity in the near future.

Given the zeitgeist-y nature of climate change, it’s not surprising that melting glaciers nabbed the top spot. But the rest of the list shows glaciers beating out a host of other fantastic discoveries, including:

2) Mapping the human genome. 2003 saw the completion of an 10-year, international effort to map the entire human genome, which paved the way for medical breakthroughs and intense insight into our DNA and evolutionary biology.

3) Water on Mars. Mars rovers finally discovered the Martian Holy Grail: Water in the form of ice on the Mars Surface. This opens the door to the chance for the biggest discovery ever—aliens. (They’ll probably be microscopic, but still.)

5) Humans meld with machines. Several discoveries throughout the 2000s led us closer to working cyborgs, culminating in 2009 when amputee Pierpaolo Petruzzielo became the first person to make complex movements (finger wiggling, a fist, grabbing objects) with a robotic hand controlled by just his thoughts. We’re this close to Robocop, folks.

So let’s have it: Do melting glaciers and the onset of climate change beat out those other incredible discoveries? Take a look at the complete list and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez

Top 10 Discoveries of the decade (Discovery News)