NASA engineer suggests printing people on other planets

Published on May 29, 2014

NASA engineer suggests printing people on other planets



    Adam Steltzner, a leading Curiosity project engineer at NASA JPL, speaking at Future Is Now, suggested several options for colonizing other planets. In his opinion, sending people to other star systems can be done in two ways: either by manipulating space-time (traveling through a wormhole or with a warp engine ), or after rethinking the fundamental idea of ​​what we ourselves are.

    “The best option for space exploration might be to print people organically on another planet,” Steltsner said.

    By all accounts, the colonization of other planets is the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the human race. The problem is that we don’t even know how to safely fly to Mars, not to mention distant star systems. If instead of the person to send instructions for printing, then the problem can be solved.

    First, you need to send human genetic material to another planet. According to Steltsner, this can be done using bacteria that can survive in space . The idea is to place human DNA segments in bacterial cells before shipping. “Maybe we are colonizing other worlds not with astronauts in spacesuits, but with bacteria,” said Adam Stelzner, “such considerations seem wonderful, fantastic.”

    Steltsner explainedthat it was not he who came up with the concept of printing people on other planets, but George Church and Gary Ruvkun from the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Although, in fact, she had previously met in science fiction works.

    Gary Ravkan says that ideas were previously expressed for terraforming other planets with the help of genetically modified bacteria that can create an oxygen-containing atmosphere, fertilize the soil and prepare a non-residential planet for the colonists to land. “If you offer terraforming, you can also suggest sending bacteria with parts of human DNA,” says Ravkan. “This is not some kind of madness.”

    But what is real madness - this is the way how to collect sent segments into a living human body. Here we can not do anything yet, because modern technology does not allow to decode information from DNA and grow the body, as it happens in nature. But scientists hope that with the development of genetic engineering, cloning and bioprinting technologies, this will become possible. Break the genome of a specific person into segments, place them in bacteria - and send to the desired planet for assembly. “We have been studying DNA for only 50 years,” says Ravkan. “After 5,000 years, this will seem like fun for us.”

    Adam Stelzner believes that radio transmission of the human genome to the Universe may be a good idea in the hope that someone will receive this signal, be able to correctly interpret it and genetically reconstruct a person. “In my opinion, it is very similar to 3D printing,” says Stelzner.


    Printing a human kidney with a 3D printer

    This is similar to how the digital biological converter , which is being developed by Synthetic Genomics Incorporated, an American company, and led by synthetic biology pioneer Craig Venter , works . The device makes a digital copy of the body’s DNA (for example, a virus or microbe) - sends it to another place where a new organism is created with the DNA from the digital copy.

    A DNA colonization strategy is an entirely speculative idea. It is not known whether this is possible in practice. But at least it does not contradict the basic laws of physics, does not require traveling with excess of the speed of light or an infinite amount of energy.