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)
Enjoy the sense of scale in this image, stitched together from 16 smaller images and 1060 hours of exposure. The image is a mosaic made of 16 smaller fields of view, which, once stitched together form a high-resolution image of 204 Million of pixels! As of matter of fact, this is not the work of […]
Pepsi has announced plans to contract with the Russian space startup Startrocket to project massive "artificial constellations" spelling out ads for a "nonalcoholic energy beverage" in the night sky; Startrocket is planning to launch a cluster of cubesats with reflective mylar sails in 2021.
Sculptor Art Donovan (previously) writes in about "Event Horizon," his newest lamp, inspired by black holes.
Believe it or not, PDF files have been the go-to format for contracts and forms of any type since 1993. And sure, they’re easily shareable – but that’s about it. When you need to edit or sign a document – and you will – that’s when frustration can set in. Luckily, there are workarounds, and […]
It’s 4/20! Smoke ’em if you got ’em – and if you haven’t got ’em, check out this roundup of deep discounts on pipes and other accessories. They’re all on sale, but you can take an extra discount off the final price courtesy of the Boing Boing store by using the online code 420SAVE. Freeze […]
Ever wonder if you’re cleaning your teeth well enough? If your last dentist visit has you getting a little more thorough about oral care, it might be time to save yourself some guesswork. A lot of electric toothbrushes promise deep cleaning, but there’s a Platinum Sonic Toothbrush that has power plus the simple but effective […]