What humans will look like in 1,000 years

There will eventually be a day where prosthetics are no longer just for the disabled.

However, it’s not just our outside appearance that will change – our genes will also evolve on microscopic levels to aid our survival. For example, an Oxford-led study discovered a group of HIV-infected children in South Africa living healthy lives. It turns out, they have a built-in defense against HIV that prevents the virus from advancing to AIDS.

And with gene-editing tools like CRISPR, we may eventually control our genes and DNA to the point where we make ourselves immune to disease and even reverse the effects of aging.

Another way to jump-start the human evolution on a different path is to move some of us to Mars. Mars receives 66% less sunlight than Earth. Which could mean humans on Mars will evolve larger pupils that can absorb more light in order to see. And since Mars’ gravitational pull is only 38% of Earth’s, people born on Mars might actually be taller than anyone on Earth. In space, the fluid that separates our vertebrae expands, which led American aerospace engineer, Robert Zubrin to suggest that Mars’ low gravity could allow the human spine to elongate enough to add a few extra inches to our height.

However, not even a move to Mars could spark the biggest change in human evolution that we may have coming in the next 1,000 years: immortality. The path to immortality will likely require humans to download their consciousness into a machine. Right now, scientists in Italy and China are performing head transplants on animals to determine if you can transfer consciousness from one body to another. They claim their next big step is to transplant human heads.

Whatever happens in the next 1,000 years — whether we merge with machines or become them — one thing is certain: The human race is always changing — and the faster we change and branch out from Earth, the better chance we have of outrunning extinction.

Oxygen’s surprisingly complex journey through your body – Enda Butler

Oxygen forms about 21% of the air around us. In your body, oxygen forms a vital role in the production of energy in most cells. But if gases can only efficiently diffuse across tiny distances, how does oxygen reach the cells deep inside your body? Enda Butler tracks the surprisingly complex journey of oxygen through your body.

What are the challenges of nuclear power? – M. V. Ramana and Sajan Saini

Our ability to mine great amounts of energy from uranium nuclei has led some to bill nuclear power as a plentiful, utopian source of electricity. But rather than dominate the global electricity market, nuclear power has declined from a high of 18% in 1996 to 11% today. What happened to the great promise of this technology? M.V. Ramana and Sajan Saini detail the challenges of nuclear power.

What is entropy? – Jeff Phillips

There’s a concept that’s crucial to chemistry and physics. It helps explain why physical processes go one way and not the other: why ice melts, why cream spreads in coffee, why air leaks out of a punctured tire. It’s entropy, and it’s notoriously difficult to wrap our heads around. Jeff Phillips gives a crash course on entropy.