SCIENTISTS DARING TO FANTASISE: PRINTING HUMANS ONTO OTHER PLANETS (With some exploratory questions, remarks and fantasies of a layman) Kees Deckers June 2014 On May 29 Meghan Neal's article: "Our Best Bet for Colonizing Space May Be Printing Humans on Other Planets" appeared on the website  "Motherboard" (internetreference (06-06-14): http://motherboard.vice.com/read/our-best-bet-for-colonizing-space-may-be-printing-humans-  on-other-planets). In it she writes about some ideas of biologists Gary Ruvkun and George Church of the Genetics Department of Harvard  Medical School, of N.A.S.A. J.P.L.'s Curiosity rover mission's lead engineer Adam Steltzner and of Craig Venter, "the US biologist that's famous  for helping map the human genome and creating the first synthetic life". According to the article Steltzner stated at the "Smithsonian Magazine's Future Is Now" conference of 2014 in Washington, D.C., that took  place from May 16 to 18, that: "Our best bet for space exploration could be printing humans, organically, on another planet".  He admits the idea is not his, but belongs to Ruvkun, Church and others of the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics. He states:  "They think deep and forward". This statement simply makes me laugh. To me, they just have a lot of fantasy, and dare to use it as scientists.  But that does not mean they think more deep than most humans. It just means they skim the surface of fantastic ideas, without really having  one inkling of how to achieve them and what it entails. Which is, in fact, what the scientifically uninitiated and non-scientists are always  accused of, when they propose such ideas. In this article I will show not only that this is the case, but that most of their fantasies are derived  from science fiction and fantasy stories, which have been around for at least decades already. And that they in fact also rely heavily on  theories proposed and researched by ufologists and others with regard to ExtraTerrestrial Civilisations wich may have visited Earth since  thousands and more years. Yes, I do believe, that although these ideas seem incredibly far-fetched, they may in fact be feasible in a far off future. My questions are  though: Do we, humans, work these ideas out simply because it can be done? Regardless of the consequences? Or do we work them out based  on some or other purpose? Is there for instance an ethical basis we start from? And what is that ethical basis?  Placing humans out-of-the-box of Earth  The starting point of Steltzner and consorts' bet or theorem for "space exploration" is stated in the article as follows: "Many of science's  brightest minds think that the only way to guarantee the long-term survival of the human race is to colonize other planets-problem is, we have  no clue how to safely travel to Mars, let alone further into our cosmic neighborhood. By sending instructions on how to print ourselves to far-  flung locales, we could skip the trip." At this very moment, many humans are trying to work out how to travel safely and preferably fast  through space. Many inventive ideas are thought of and tried to be achieved in that regard. Ideas that go from new energy sources like L.E.N.R.  and zero point energy to new drives like the warp drive. N.A.S.A. for instance works on both L.E.N.R. and the warp drive (internet reference  (26-06-14): http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/technology/warp/warpstat_prt.htm). They use the simple figure below to explain how far their  idea with regard to their warp drive has been worked out:  Change the terms "conjecture" and "speculation" in "fantasy" and we see how humans make progress in all their endeavours.  Furthermore, the first actual attempt to establish a human colonisation on Mars is even now already well on its way. This project, the Mars One  Mission, has as its mission statement:  Human Settlement on Mars Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2024. Our first unmanned mission will be launched  in 2018. Join the Global Mars One Community and participate in our mission to Mars.  Internet reference (18-06-14):  http://www.mars-one.com/ But Steltzner just sweeps all of this aside, to a be able to promote his own idea and that of others, which skip and jump many in-between-  possibilities for humans to actually start exploring outside their own planet themselves. He calls it the best bet for "space exploration", but in  fact it has nothing to do with actual exploration of space by humans. It has only to do with ways "to guarantee the long-term survival of the  human race", which is in fact what all of life tries to attain. And it has even more to do with getting the chance and guarantee to work on this as  a scientist, no matter what the cost, no matter what the outcome. This last remark of mine may seem harsh and unfriendly, but because  humanity still follows the idea of capitalism this is the attitude, which is taken by most humans. It is the attitude of better being a winner than a  loser, and pushing all your so-called competitors aside, that really resounds through all of the article and all of the ideas mentioned.  According to the article it is Ruvkun's view that: "...this method of "human" space exploration is worth thinking about, if for no other reason  than it's the least unlikely of all the unlikely schemes to colonize the cosmos. If we're going to talk about interplanetary settlements anyway,  we might as well discuss the strategies that aren't definitely scientifically impossible, he reasoned. We know which laws of physics are standing  in the way of transporting people lightyears through the universe, but there aren't obvious laws of nature preventing us from sending DNA-  encoded organisms to propagate the species on other planets." As Steltzner said it at the end of the interview with Meghan Neal: "This is  completely speculative," ... "But it doesn't require you moving faster than the speed of light, and it doesn't require infinite amounts of energy."  So, the out-of-the-box-thinking of Ruvkun, Church and Steltzner is about how to get humans onto other planets, within and outside of our Solar System, in case space travel by way of spaceships will not be possible, which Ruvkun has decided already to be "definitely scientifically  impossible". He states that this last will not work and that their even more fantastic idea has more chance of succeeding. What is their idea, or  better what are their ideas?  Directed panspermia  Before going into their ideas let me show where their ideas probably come from in the "scientific community". The overall idea is that of  “directed panspermia”. And Steltzner, Ruvkun, Church and Ventner have derived from this overall idea, their own ideas of how to achieve them.  It was for instance Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of the D.N.A. molecule, who talked in the 1970s already about "directed  panspermia":  Francis Harry Compton Crick, OM, FRS (8 June 1916 - 28 July 2004) was an English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, most noted for being a co-  discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953 with James Watson. He, Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology  or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material"...  Directed panspermia During the 1960s, Crick became concerned with the origins of the genetic code. In 1966, Crick took the place of Leslie Orgel at a meeting where Orgel was to talk about  the origin of life. Crick speculated about possible stages by which an initially simple code with a few amino acid types might have evolved into the more complex code  used by existing organisms. At that time, everyone thought of proteins as the only kind of enzymes and ribozymes had not yet been found. Many molecular biologists were  puzzled by the problem of the origin of a protein replicating system that is as complex as that which exists in organisms currently inhabiting Earth. In the early 1970s,  Crick and Orgel further speculated about the possibility that the production of living systems from molecules may have been a very rare event in the universe, but once it  had developed it could be spread by intelligent life forms using space travel technology, a process they called "directed panspermia". In a retrospective article, Crick and  Orgel noted that they had been overly pessimistic about the chances of abiogenesis on Earth when they had assumed that some kind of self-replicating protein system was  the molecular origin of life.  Internet reference (25-06-14):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Crick  Of course, the problem with Crick's reasoning is that it goes from the "conjecture" and "speculation" or fantasy that "the production of living  systems from molecules" is "a very rare event in the universe", which by the way as easily could have happened on Earth itself. And that  subsequently it was "spread by intelligent life forms using space travel technology". But from the principle of Ockham's razor this uses at least  two assumptions. While it could very simply be based on only one assumption. Why should "the production of living systems from molecules"  be "a very rare event"? If our entire universe started from the same energy, and is dispersed and ruled everywhere more or less evenly by the  few laws of nature science believes in, then why would life not start at many places more or less at the same time, not as a rare but as a very  common event? Like it is today clear, that water is very common throughout our universe, as well as are planets and even possible habitable  planets. And like today the start of our universe is not even a rare event anylonger, but probably one that happens continously in a multiverse,  in which, as some scientists state, an infinite number of universes may exist.  Another place they can have taken their ideas from is this book printed in 2004:  Internet reference (25-06-14): http://www.astro-ecology.com/astrobiology_Book.htm And: https://archive.org/details/SeedingTheUniverseWithLifeSecuringOurCosmologicalFuture In some ways the idea of Ruvkun, Church and Steltzner, which the first two call: "The DNA space travel concept" (just another term for  "directed panspermia"), seems indeed more feasible than sending humans on probably long and extended journeys through space. First of all,  with the last, there is the ethical problem to consider. One which may be clear from the Mars One Mission. These first ExtraTerrestrial Human  Colonists know they go on a one-way trip. A lot of the first human space travels towards other planets, even within our Solar System, will surely  be one-way trips. Secondly, it is much easier to send a small vial with D.N.A. for long extended trips through space than a small group of  humans. It asks indeed much less energy and much smaller vessels. Vessels not much larger than the two Voyagers for instance which are now  way beyond our Solar System. Thirdly, the very long periods of time travelling through space are much less essential for D.N.A. then for actual  living humans. And some of Ruvkun and consorts' ideas do not even require space vehicles of any kind. But the ethical problems are no less.   The biggest differences with their ideas are that: One, humans do not literally explore space themselves, while on their way to other planets. A  grave error for our learning to understand space and our reality. And two, they place humans in literally all aspects out-of-the-box of Earth.  Meaning not only placing these "humans" outside of Earth, but probably also placing them outside almost all possibilities of making contact with  Earth, and probably even without these "humans" knowing for a long time, maybe thousands or more years, of the existence of Earth and their  ancestors, the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Yes, of course the history of Earth, and of humanity, their ancestors may be sent along. But what  else is sent along with the "humans"-to-become, to make contact with Earth? And, of course, first of all to ensure their survival for at least  many years on some way-out-there exoplanet? Think about it, these humans start as babies! Then become children! How will they survive as  babies? How as children? How are they going to learn a language, to read, to write, to understand one or other Earth language and so finally be  able to understand the messages and instructions sent with them? And how does information from their Earthly ancestors prepare them for an  entirely different habitat then those of Earth, terraformed or not? Think for one moment about what these scientists expect of their "humans"  on some way-out-there exoplanet. So, the question is: Can a new race of humans evolve on another planet, understand everything in one generation and make in the same  generation contact with Earth? Or will it take hundreds or thousands of generations as it did with us?  Five ideas based on a two-step-system  All ideas by Ruvkun, Church, Steltzner and Venter are based on a two-step-system. Step 1 is to find a planet habitable for human life or  terraform one to make it so. Step 2 is to "grow" somehow humans on this planet.  So, the first step is to engineer bacteria and send them to a planet, which they can terraform. Or find a planet which is straightaway habitable  for human life. Which of course is what scientists are searching for all the time already, and why they always only are searching for planets in  the so-called Goldilocks' Zone (internet reference (27-06-14): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumstellar_habitable_zone), stating that these  are the only planets life can arise from and thrive on. It has in a way little to do with not believing that very different life can develop under  very different circumstances. It has only to do with trying to find planets humans can live on. But even most planets in the so-called Goldilocks'  Zone, will not be straight off livable for humans. So, terraforming will be almost always a necessity. It is like making a nest, but then on a very  large scale. But how long does that take? And what is needed? And what not? The terraforming alone may take thousands of years, billions of  years even, if we look at the evolution of life on Earth. And only after that we could send human life in the form of D.N.A. to such a terraformed  planet. How we obtain the knowledge if indeed the terraforming went well and has progressed far enough, without actually going to have a  look, is not mentioned. This could mean that not one, but many try-out vessels have to leave Earth, ethically a very dubious venture. It means  also that we have to be able to live still at least for thousands of years on our own planet, to achieve this. And how are we going to achieve  that, looking at the situation and all of the problems humanity faces today already?  IDEA 1 Encode segments of human D.N.A. in bacteria, send these to the same planet after terraforming has taken place or has been on its way long  enough to have created a viable environment for human life. Also send instructions so "the D.N.A.-toting microbes" arriving on the new planet  can reassemble the building blocks of life into human beings. "If you want to roll with the terraforming scenario a bit further, you can imagine  the human-encoded bacteria reassembles naturally, through organic processes, to eventually evolve into descendant organisms-sort of  restarting the human population". Let's suppose humans beings by way of this idea indeed do evolve on the planet and learn how to thrive in their partly or completely  terraformed environment. Can they ever make contact with humanity on Earth? If not, is information also send with them, so in time they will  discover how they came to evolve on the planet? Maybe also encoded in the D.N.A.? Proposed by for instance Vladimir I. shCherbak and Maxim   A. Makukov in their paper: "The "Wow! signal" of the terrestrial genetic code" (internet reference (25-06-14): http://www.evolutionnews.org/20  13/03/a_wow_signal_of069941.html and: http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets/could-an-alien-message-be-embedded-in-our-  genetic-code-130401.htm). Will these new "humans" because of that, at a certain moment, experience and believe us to be so-called  benevolent gods or the benevolent ExtraTerrestrials that created them? Well, are they in for a surprise if they really meet us.  IDEA 2 Steltzner further proposes: "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. Maybe we send along  detailed instructions with the signal".  Now, why would an intelligent enough civilisation out there be so stupid to create a human being on their own planet, with the possibility of it to  be very dangerous to them? Maybe causing to change their culture and civilisation forever. And maybe even destroying their entire civilisation.  Or causing the balance of their natural planet-environment to be disturbed so much it becomes inhabitable for them. On the other hand, what  about the human beings created by them, on the basis of the human genome and the instructions sent by ourselves, being used as lab rats or  even as a slave race for this civilisation of other lifeforms? With even the possibility that they decide to visit Earth, with indeed hostile  intentions? Movies like Species, Species II, Species III and so on show us the negative consequences and side effects for both these E.T.'s and  ourselves. It is clear the ethical consequences in this scenario have not been thought about for even an iota. And an ExtraTerrestrial species  doing what human being Steltzner suggests, how much is it thinking things through before acting?  IDEA 3 Another idea he fantasises about is: "Maybe we even send a robot to another planet, wait a thousand years to make sure we trust the  machine, and then "beam the information about a human being and tell it to genetically construct the human."" This idea is more or less an  extension of Idea 1. The robot should be sent together with bacteria to terraform the planet. But waiting a thousand years? How is that  realised? How can the machine first of all be put down at a safe place? And then wait and finally function after a thousand years, without being  destroyed in some kind of slow or fast process taking place on that particular part of the chosen planet? Maybe even caused by the  terraforming. And then again, how quickly will this new species of humans evolve after that?  Up Next page