Humans Could Colonize Space By Sending DNA Fragments To Distant Planets
A leading NASA scientist has said that humans could colonize space by sending fragments of DNA to distant planets in order to 'print' a new civilization, writes The Daily Mail.
The idea is not as far fetched as it seems, writes The Daily Mail, one of the theories for how life began on Earth is known as panspermia.
According to this theory, microbial life was carried to Earth by an asteroid that originated from a planet within the solar system, or even one outside it.
NASA engineer Adam Seltzner spoke about the future of space exploration during a speech at the Smithsonian Magazine's 'The Future is Here Festival' in Washington DC in May.
'Our best bet for space exploration could be printing humans, organically, on another planet,' he said during his speech.
'Maybe we will colonize other worlds not with astronauts in space suits, but with bacteria,' Seltzner said.
'Those considerations seem beautiful, fantastic.'
The idea was first suggested by by Harvard biologists Dr Gary Ruvkun and Dr George Church, according to a Harvard Medical School release.
The biologists suggest that fragments of the human genome could be sent to distant worlds in bacteria, writes The Daily Mail.
The various segments would then be reassembled into a human genome once they had arrived on the planet they had been sent to.
In a paper from April 2012, scientists from Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan discussed how so-called 'reverse panspermia' might have already happened by accident, writes The Daily Mail.
The scientists said that previous impacts on Earth could have sent life-bearing meteorites from Earth to other planets, writes The Daily Mail.
The Chicxulub crater event, for example, which is thought to have caused the dinosaurs to become extinct, could have been sufficient to send life from Earth to other planets in the solar system.
'If life forms inside remain viable, this would be evidence of life from Earth seeding other planets,' they wrote in a statement.
According to their proposal there are two options to disperse human DNA to other planets.
Bacteria carrying the human genome would be sent to 'infect' distant planets and evolve, or a robot would be sent thousands of years in advance and then tasked with printing humans from beamed information, writes The Daily Mail.
Scientists are not yet sure how these bacteria would grow into humans.
As on Earth, the bacteria could be left to evolve - or - an autonomous machine capable of creating cellular life could be sent thousands of years in advance to a habitable exoplanet outside of our own solar system, writes The Daily Mail.
Once the machine had arrived at its destination, information could then be beamed to the robot, effectively telling it how to construct a human.
While these proposals may not come to fruition for hundreds or thousands of years into the future, many scientists believe we will create multicellular life one day.