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)
On Sunday, the SpaceX capsule containing NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. (Video above.) It was the first time a private company took humans off-world and returned them to Earth and also the first splash-down of American astronauts in 45 years. At a press conference yesterday, […]
WATCH THE SPLASHDOWN EVENT LIVE HERE, the SpaceX video embed in this post will go live with pre-event content sometime before 7pm EDT on Saturday August 1.
NASA launched its latest and greatest rover, Perseverance, to Mars on Thursday, from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
It’s tempting for many young professionals to assume that because they’ve spent most of their lives posting links to Facebook or pushing selfies to Instagram that they have the skills needed to be a digital marketer. Creating compelling content is certainly important, but if you’re not up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO), how […]
With everybody working from home now, it’s natural to start thinking about careers where not going into the office is more the norm than the exception. Better yet, many are looking to start careers as freelancers, professionals who build their livelihoods around the scope of their talent and not the fortunes of one all-encompassing employer. […]
“The way to have power is to take it.” — Boss Tweed. We think an 18th-century political power broker probably had a different definition of power in mind when he made that statement, yet the sentiment still applies. We’ve all got devices all but falling out of our pockets and the need for power to […]