Re: PC immortality?

Max More (
Sat, 17 Jan 1998 11:42:38 -0800

At 05:00 PM 1/16/98 -0500, Sasha wrote:
>I just read a message entitled "Immortal Astronaut"
>on the Future Culture mailing list, about 77-year-old
>John Glenn going to space again, and thought:
>what if NASA decides to launch a manned star
>mission at some point? They would have to take
>serious measures to extend the lives of the crew
>then, and would explain to the public that radical
>life extension is sometimes a good thing...

Glenn said something very interesting in one of those interviews. He was
explaining why he was going up there, and said that they hoped to learn
something about the aging process by sending into space someone who has
already undergone much of the process. He said they might learn how to
switch aging on and off. (I don't use quotes, because I'm not sure those
are his exact words, but they are close.)

Yet another sign that it's becoming acceptable to talk about dramatic life
extension. Last night on ABC's 20/20, there was an excellent 15-20 report
on the Geron advances. The presenters, far from attacking the idea, were
clearly excited, delighted, and favorable. Barbara Walters looked stunned,
and kept saying "amazing" and similar things, while Hugh Downs was looking
forward to living well into a second century in good health.

Some of the scientists quoted were talking about major life extension in
five to ten years. I have major reservations about such an optimistic
scenario (though I badly hope to be shown too pessimistic!). I think it was
either Michael West or Michael Fossel (whose talk on telomerase I heard at
the LA Gerontology Research Group meeting a few months ago) who made this
claim. Has anyone read Fossel's book, and does his justify such an
optimistic timescale?


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,