Bioengineering future Martian colonists may be easier than taking the many difficult steps to reduce radiation exposure. But is it ethical?
Unless we live underground or use cumbersome radiation shielding at all times, tweaking the human genome may be easier if not necessarily safer.
As George Church, a Harvard geneticist and leading synthetic biologist, argues: “One likely path for risk reduction in space does seem to involve biological engineering of adult would-be astronauts.” He has identified 40-some genes that might be advantageous for long-term spaceflight (and would benefit those who stayed behind, too). His list includes CTNNBI, which confers radiation resistance, LRPD5, which builds adamantine bones, ESPA1 (common in Tibetans), which allows people to live with less oxygen, as well as a host of genes that might make us smarter, more memorious, or less anxious. The menu even includes a gene, ABC11, which endows its possessors with “low-odor production,” a friendly trait in a confined space. (A spaceship with standard humans smells like the Harris County Jail, according to one recent inhabitant of the space station.)
Church cofounded Harvard Medical School’s Consortium for Space Genetics, along with other prominent biologists like the anti-aging researcher David Sinclair, in order to study human health in space and promote exploration.
• The genetics (and ethics) of making humans fit for Mars (Wired)
The scientist/artists in NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio created this magnificent video to accompany a recent performance by the National Symphony Orchestra Pops of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” From NASA: The visuals were composed like a nature documentary, with clean cuts and a mostly stationary virtual camera. The viewer follows the Sun throughout a lunar […]
Bloomberg Businessweek asked eight designers to come up with logos for Trump’s inane “Space Force.” Milton Glaser nailed it. The image represents the relentless intrusion of our president in every aspect of our lives and future. The image can be read as his next conquest or simply that there is very little inside that skull. […]
Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured the above photo of Northern California’s Carr and Ferguson fires five days ago. Below is the blanket of smoke from the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest fire in California’s history, as imaged by the Aqua satellite. Horrifying and tragic no matter how you see it. From NASA: Details of the actual […]
Drones are undeniably cool, but not all of us have the Top Gun-level piloting skills required to fly them—unless you’re using TRNDlabs’ new Spectre Drone. Designed new and expert pilots alike, this drone is loaded with fly assist features to make piloting easy, all the while you explore using its built-in HD camera. It’s available in the […]
Whether you’re set to give the toast at your best friend’s wedding or a presentation at work, you’ll be relying on those public speaking lessons you slept through during high school. Scary thought, right? Thankfully, the Public Speaking Bundle is loaded with hacks, tips, and techniques that will get you speaking more naturally and with confidence, […]
The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is the foundation on which many creatives build their careers, but some of its programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, are notoriously complex, making it difficult for aspiring designers, photographers, and the like to break into their field. But, don’t get discouraged. The Pay What You Want: Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle […]