Re: colonization of space

Anders Sandberg (
30 Aug 1999 11:53:14 +0200

Welcome! writes:

> The concept is simple. A hyper-adaptive gene, bred or implanted into
> humans. The gene would allow humans to survive in ammonia, nitrogen, sulfur,
> and any other atmosphere you can think of. The gene would cause changes over
> a relatively short time, maybe within two generations. So some life support
> would be needed, but nothing long-term. Eventually, humans on Titan or
> somewhere would be able to shut down the life support indefinitely, thus
> freeing up power to better understand this foreign environment.

The problem is that genetic changes cannot change basic biochemistry much - we will still run on DNA, proteins, carbohydrates etc in a water solution. That will limit what we can adapt to; the cold smog atmosphere of Titan is simply too cold for liquid water, and we would still need to oxidize food to survive. Adaptation works within some limits (we can hadle living in Peru), deliberate modifications can extend these limits (like adding fur for the arctic, gills for the sea or radiodurans DNA repair genes to resist radiation) and wholesale rebuilding maybe some more extreme environments (like the vacuum adapted protagonist in Nagata's _The Bohr Maker_), but there is no such thing as a gene for hyper adaptation.

> I have had some thoughts on a way to colonize space without all that
> tedious mucking about in life support technology, or at least less of it.
> While I am new to the transhuman scene, and am not sure whether this idea
> could be considered transhuman thinking, I figured, "What's a better way to
> plant this idea into hundreds of minds?"

I think it is definitely transhumanist thinking, it just needs to be refined.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y