The 34 most impressive scientific achievements of 2020 include ancient mummy tombs, historic rocket launches and the fastest vaccine in history

Scientists and researchers around the world made impressive achievements in 2020. They have discovered huge caches of ancient bones and sarcophagi, discovered new types of black holes, and found water that could harbor alien life in new places in the solar system.

That was all in the middle of a pandemic that spurred its own branch of fast-moving science. Last year, coronavirus researchers sequenced the pathogen’s genome, lifted the veil on the nature of the infection and immunity, and developed vaccines that are currently being administered in the United States.

However, the pandemic barely slowed NASA and its space partners. They still found time to launch a new Mars rover, a record-breaking probe for the sun, and the first commercial astronaut mission.

These and other achievements improve scientists’ understanding of the coronavirus, our planet and the surrounding cosmos.

As the new year approaches, here’s a look back at some of the most dazzling scientific discoveries and achievements of 2020.