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The Genetics (and Ethics) of Making Humans Fit for Mars

In May 1969, Apollo 10 flew 25 miles per hour. Two months later, the crew of Apollo marched the Moon 11. From then on, no one flew very fast or went very high. NASA is now preparing for a human mission on Mars, but if our offspring ever pinch off their earthly bonds, it's not us that would make it. We are not fit.

For evolutionary biologists, "fitness" is a measure of natural selection: the average nature of individuals of a species to live and multiply. Modern humans have changed their microbial symbionts in Africa about 300,000 to 200,000 years ago and spread rapidly around the world. We are amazingly good at Earth, but space is harmful to our species. The real problem is that many stressors, especially radiation, exist where adequate spaceships offer little protection.

Earth's environmental magnetic fields are within us before ionizing radiation, which flows like a deadly wind into space. On the surface of Mars or aboard a spaceship, long-term exposure to the highly charged energy of galactic cosmic rays or the sudden flare solar events of particles, kills the cells and damage the strands of our DNA. These dead or malfunctioning cells cause heart disease. The DNA damage is even worse: the cells fix their own resolution, and this leads to cancer and mutated disease.

The long-range space flight over the earth orbit and the Van Allen Belt's current exceeds the limits of NASA's "acceptable risk." With the exception of a more serious set of technological tricks including radiation protection inside the spaceship and underground quarters on the Planet, our biology is not compatible with the mission of Mars.

But serious biologists working with NASA, began to wonder if the person for space travel can be genetically altered. A characteristic feature of our species is our delirium for expansion. Other hominins do not share it as far as we know; Our cousin Neanderthals, who have been living for 5,000 years, have never left Eurasia. Imagine how many weak structures are the country's only hope of filling all the islands of the seas!

AS-George Church, a geneticist at Harvard said, "One possible way to reduce the risk in space seemingly involves the bioengineering of adult astronauts." He identified 40 genes that could be useful for long-haul flights which includes CTNNBI (providing radiation resistance), LRP5 (building diamond bones), and ESPA1 (gene commonly found in Tibetans) that would allow people to live with less oxygen. The menu contains a gene, ABC11, with its  "low production of odor", a gentle touch in a confined space.

Church has teamed with other prominent biologists, including anti-aging researcher David Sinclair, to establish the Harvard Medical School Space Genetics Consortium to study human health in space and the progress of exploration. He suggests bringing "genetic gene therapies or microbiome or epigenome therapies" from astronauts to change their biology. "It's a bit of a knowledge of the fight against radiation, osteoporosis, cancer and masculinity," he said. Church insists that many of these genes are targeted by drug companies in clinical trials. The use of gene therapy as a type of drug to avoid astronauts is unknown.

Geneticist Chris Mason, proposed a "500-year plan" for the NASA space colonization. The three major components are based on the extension of our knowledge of genomics because we kill or disable their changes; technical microbes; and adding, removing, and altering genes to produce lasting changes in a population.

Columbia's Harris Wang wants to synthesize nine amino acids found in rocks which our bodies cannot. A human cell synthesizing all the organic compounds needs about 250 new genes, but if our tissue is made up of such cells, astronauts can evolve by drinking only sugar water. Other scientists have proposed photosynthetic astronauts or edited the personality of the space corps.

In politics, eugenics is an ugly word: the promise of genocidal tyrants. Is it generally ethical to call a new person without naming your own design? As for the new people themselves, none of us choose our heritage; We are all products of our parents.

NASA has released a report stating that nobody, not even Elon Musk, could let Mars live for humans. The astrobiologist at the University of Auckland told Kathy Campbell on the AM Show that although there was life on Mars, we could not get it. "There's a lake, there's water, but it's under a mile and a half of ice, we can not get it, we can not get underground until that level."

"The terraforming that turns a whole planet onto something like the ground is a huge dreampipe, there is just not enough carbon dioxide to warm it up." Dr. Campbell, however, said he does not hope another planet could be preserved there.

He said scientists could know if life on Mars has grown since the universe is expanding. But despite the bad times of Mars, there is an alternative security plan. "Plan B is to really save the land, and that's up to us."



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