5 stories we're looking forward to in 2019
From a royal baby to a moon landing, buckle up for a busy year ahead.
Who could've predicted the year we just had? It was 12 months that were jam-packed with news about aliens, inspiring health stories and tales of high-flying nonagenarians. So 2019 has a tough act to follow.
And while, sadly, we won't be getting the highly anticipated "Wonder Woman" sequel until 2020 (egads!), there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2019. Don't believe us? Take a look at our upcoming editorial calendar...
The arrival of the (latest) royal baby
Spring 2018 brought us the royal wedding and, seemingly like clockwork, spring 2019 is expected to mark the arrival of Baby #1 from Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle). Their baby – who will be seventh in line to the throne – will be a first cousin of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Babies have never been far from the newlyweds' thoughts. On a trip to a business hub in Belfast before their wedding earlier this year, the soon-to-be royal couple were shown a range of high-tech products – including some for newborns. "I'm sure at some point we'll need the whole (lot)," Meghan said at the time. When the entrepreneurs behind a baby bath told the couple they could have one free of charge, Harry joked: "How many have you got?" And now, without further ado, let the baby name guessing game begin.
Now boarding: A historic moon landing
The coming year marks a historic one for space travel. For starters, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But it will also be a history-setting year for another reason: Israel will be launching a ship into space this February and, if all goes as planned, the small Mediterranean country will become only the fifth country to ever land on the moon – after the U.S., Russia, India and China. The mission also marks the first time a privately- unded ship will land on the moon. The dishwasher-sized module is scheduled to liftoff on Feb. 13, weather permitting, aboard Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. Tucked inside will be a time capsule consisting of three discs – each containing hundreds of digital files. Among them will be drawings by Israeli children, MP3 files of Israeli songs and photos of Israeli landscapes.
“This is a very emotional moment," said Israeli engineer Yonatan Winetraub as he inserted the time capsule into the ship. "We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment.”
The final season of 'Game of Thrones'
The last time we saw an episode of HBO's critically acclaimed fantasy drama was in August 2017 (the same month that saw the passing of the world's oldest man). A year and a half will have passed by the time Season 8 premieres in April 2019 – and fans have lots of unresolved questions. To that end, producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss plan to tie up as many loose ends as possible into what promises to be one of the most watched series finales in television history. There will only be six episodes, but they will be super-sized – essentially turning each one into a mini-movie.
David Nutter, one of the "Game of Thrones" directors, said to expect twists in the final season. “Hang onto your seat cause it’s going to be special,” Nutter said in a Reddit AMA. He added that season 8 will have "lots of surprises and shocking moments."
The self-driving car gets a green light
Earlier this year, in an empty parking lot on the campus of Ben-Gurion University in Israel, we watched as a team of graduate students showed off their latest invention: a portable robot chauffeur. Little did we know that was just the start of driverless car news. We've all been hearing about self-driving cars for the longest time, but it appears that much of that talk will come to some sort of fruition in 2019.
Another Israeli school, Bar-Ilan University, just announced that beginning in February there will be a driverless shuttle that will transport students around the sprawling campus. Meanwhile, a tech company called Yandex has been approved to operate self-driving cars on Israel's public roads. And Volkswagen has teamed with Intel to launch a shuttle service around Israel using driverless cars.
"We firmly believe that self-driving electric vehicles will offer Israel and cities around the world safe, clean and emission-free mobility, which is accessible and convenient, said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.
The most star-studded 'Little Women' in cinematic history
Little did Louisa May Alcott know that her 1868 novel "Little Women" would be constant fodder for pop culture adaptations. It has been turned into everything from an opera to a television series. There's been at least three film versions, with another one on the way in 2019. But this one is setting the bar pretty high: The cast includes Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk and Laura Dern just to name a few of the award-winning stars. The film is being directed by Greta Gerwig, who was nominated for an Oscar for helming last year's "Lady Bird." And it's being produced by Arnon Milchan, an Israeli producer behind such hits as "The Revenant, "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Pretty Woman."
The movie is set to open on Christmas Day, 2019. The perfect gift, indeed.
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