Jun 23, 2014

3D Printing and Space Exploration

 by Joseph P. Farrell

Already we’ve seen the application of 3-D printing to space exploration, when recently NASA allegedly scanned a Martian rock and printed it back on Earth to have a closer look. Now, if you’re like me, you probably don’t for a minute believe NASA went to all that trouble over a mere rock, but probably wanted to look at something entirely different, something that may have appeared suspiciously “artificial” perhaps.

But now yet another possibility is emerging. Suppose one found evidence on Mars(or any other nearby body for that matter) of microbial life, and had the ability to sequence that microbial life-form’s genome. This could then be beamed back to Earth, and with the requisite technology, 3-D printed here for study. If that sounds fanciful and ridiculous, read on:

Our Best Bet for Colonizing Space May Be Printing Humans on Other Planets

In other words, forget about sending probes to Mars, scooping something up in the soil, and returning the probe, and the sample, back to Earth. Just “scan” and press “print.” As the article notes, the possibility even has one scientist suggesting its past use:
“Maybe that process has happened before,” Steltzner told me over the phone this weekend. “Maybe that’s how we got here.”
If so, then that implies the technology to do so, and that we’re “not from here” and that something technologically sophisticated by way of human civilization existed in ancient times. It’s a whopper of a statement to make, and full of enormous implications, illustrating again how hugely the “worm has turned” in recent years, as more and more in the mainstream are voicing opinions that only a few years ago were only voiced in the alternative community.

The article goes on to note that the same Steltzner also proposes another idea:
“One idea floated by Steltzner is that we beam the human genome into the universe through radio waves—like we’re already doing to try to communicate with intelligent life—and see if anyone receives the transmission and can figure out how to interpret it.”
Before the Diabolically Apocalyptic Research Agency jumps on that bandwagon, however, it might want to consider the possibility that this may not be such a great idea, for if there is any ET out there advanced enough to get from “there” to “here,” and if that ET should be hostile, giving him or her or it a copy of our genome is probably a very bad idea, for he or she or it could conceivably come up with some very nasty bio-weapons.

But if you’re thinking all this is still impossible, consider the following sobering words from the article:
“It sounds far-fetched, but it’s an area of biotech geneticists are currently exploring. Being able to store and transmit genetic code the same as any other kind of data is the principle behind the “life printing” gadget being developed by biologist Craig Venter, the US biologist that’s famous for helping map the human genome and creating the first synthetic life.
“Venter is developing a “digital biological converter” device that can transport a digital DNA file, at the speed of light, and recreate the original lifeform in the new location from that data. He calls it biological teleportation, but it’s more like a cosmic fax.
“Venter believes the process could be used to “print” alien life, if there is any, here on Earth. If, say, the Mars rover discovers microbes on the planet, it could beam back digital copies of the genomes to sequence here on Earth. There’s a prototype already, which unsurprisingly has attracted the support of NASA and DARPA.
“So if we believe it’s possible to print a Martian organism on Earth, could it work the other way around? At this point, Venter’s experiment is only tackling life-printing at the individual gene level, but single-celled organisms like bacteria are next in line. “More complex creatures,” the New York Times reported, “earthly or Martian, will probably never be possible.””
Thank goodness for The New York TImes, huh? People once said man could never travel faster than 30mph, because the sheer speed could be a health hazard to our human bodies. Impossible? probably not. Computers, aircraft, automobiles, submarines were all once impossible too. Venter’s life-printing gadget is but a Model T, a biplane held up and together by canvas and bailing wire.