January 25, 2011

Using synthetic life to explore outer space

Lou Friedman's yawn-inducing article about the 100-Year Starship Study workshop has at least one interesting snippet of information:
One really provocative idea using information technology was advanced by microbiologist Craig Venter: sending signals from Earth with information to create synthetic life out of constituents on a complex Earth-like planet in another star system. That would be interstellar flight at the speed of light, so long as that synthetic life could signal us about their success. It is pretty way out—but maybe less so than sending actual humans on the voyage.
Despite this very visionary idea, the article makes me laugh, especially when Friedman notes, "If we are creating the future for humans in the universe, we must occasionally look at where we are going." I don't really think we're creating the future for humans in the universe—and NASA and DARPA of all institutions should be aware of this. As I`ve noted on this blog to the point of nausea, space will be explored by our post-biological descendants—if at all.

No comments: