DARPA works on microorganisms to terraform Mars
It's no secret that DARPA is investing heavily in genetic engineering and synthetic biology. It inspires you, or scares, but the development of new types of microorganisms has been going on for a long time. So, DARPA believes that they are on the path to creating microorganisms that can change the conditions on Mars so that it becomes more like Earth.
The goal of terraforming Mars is to increase temperature and increase atmospheric density by growing photosynthetic plants, algae and bacteria. However, this is such a distant goal that even optimists such as Elon Musk do not think that this will happen soon enough. But the DARPA does not intend to retreat.
“For starters, we have technological capabilities not only to change the living conditions on Earth, but also to go out into space and stay there,” said Alicia Jackson, DARPA's Deputy Director of Bio-Technology.
What features are you talking about? Last year, Alicia’s laboratory was working on the study of the most affordable methods for the genetic engineering of organisms of all kinds, not just rods and yeasts, most often used in synthetic biology.
“There are between 30 million and 30 billion species of organisms. Now, in biology, only two species are used. Our task is to learn how to use any kind of organisms - to take the properties we need and be able to quickly combine them. ”
The idea is to be able to choose the best genes from any life form and combine them to solve assigned tasks - for example, to restore ecosystems damaged by human activity or to terraform other planets. Alicia is confident that in the near future it is possible to create extremophiles that can photosynthesize and restore the environment.