DARPA Engineering Microbes To Terraform Mars

Posted: Jun 27 2015, 4:07am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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DARPA Engineering Microbes to Terraform Mars
  • Mars Terraformation a Possibility Thanks to Organisms Engineered by DARPA

Terraformation on Mars is a remote possibility thanks to human-engineered organisms by scientists at DARPA.

DARPA is putting in all its efforts towards advancing its genetics department along with the talent pool of synthetic biological know-how it possesses. One of the most cutting edge fields related to these is alien life form creation.

DARPA wants to produce such microbes and bacteria that will convert the atmosphere and climate of Mars so that it appears closer to the life-supporting ecology of earth. This is big fish alright.

“For the first time, we have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not just to visit, but to stay,” Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s new Biological Technologies Office told Motherboard.

The process has been given the name terraformation. Via the heating and growth effects of photosynthesizing plant life, myriad bacteria and algae, the surface of Mars could be colonized by alien life forms.

“There are anywhere from 30 million to 30 billion organisms on this Earth. We use two right now for engineering biology,” she said. “I want to use any organism that has properties I want—I want to quickly map it and quickly engineer it. If you look at genome annotation software today, it’s not built to quickly find engineer able systems [and genes]. It’s built to look for an esoteric and interesting thing I can publish an academic paper on.”

And although such giants as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, still think it is a goal that is way off, in fact, DARPA is looking into it right now. This is a landmark indeed since now mankind has the means of not only converting alien climates into warm life-supporting niche environments, but humanity can also make a home for itself on the planets in outer space.

Genetically engineered organisms whether they be e. coli bacteria or yeast cells are commonly employed in the field of synthetic biology. And there are millions upon millions of organisms on our planet. The total number in fact goes into the billions.

Scientists are trying to replicate many of the organisms in the lab via genetic engineering and they will hopefully succeed. It is just a matter of time. DARPA and its associated bodies of research have built DTA GView.

This is a sort of software that has been called the Big Daddy of Genomes. The only problem is most of the genome sequences of organisms exist on paper where they are mere data and not knowledge. To apply the information is where the whole consensus ought to be.

The choice lies with the scientists. They can pick the genomes they want from whichever creature and insert them into other creatures in order to create hybrid monster types. These can actually lead to the production of complex creatures in the future. DARPA plans to create organisms that can survive in extreme environments.

And that is precisely where the Mars question comes in. Terraformation on the wasteland that is Mars is only possible with extremophile organisms. As a matter of fact, the possibilities are infinite if you really look into the question.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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