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Biotech NASA Space Build

'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets 323

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Adam Steltzner, the lead engineer on the NASA JPL's Curiosity rover mission, believes that to send humans to distant planets, we may need to do one of two things: look for ways to game space-time—traveling through wormholes and whatnot—or rethink the fundamental idea of 'ourselves.' 'Our best bet for space exploration could be printing humans, organically, on another planet,' said Steltzner."
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'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

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  • Are we our genes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:48PM (#47121311) Homepage Journal

    I think there's a case to be made that genetically being human is far less important to being "human" than the shared culture we've developed. Organically laying out a clone of yourself is far less like yourself than raising an adopted child. This kind of program, while inspired, and theoretically plausible, doesn't actually achieve what we want to achieve.

  • Hmmm ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:52PM (#47121371) Homepage

    So, start with the magic, then?

    I wonder how we go about printing humans on other planets or using wormholes.

    Why, if only we had unlimited, non-existent technology, we could do practically anything.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:59PM (#47121461)
    I wish that people that are very, very smart on one particular subject or discipline would be a little more careful before they speak on matters outside of their area of expertise, especially on stuff as outlandish as what this particular individual has suggested.

    I had an interesting conversation with a man that develops re-entry systems and the test-beds used to develop and test them. He was very down-to-earth on the costs associated with launching materiel; basically in his mind it was not practical at this point to enact the scenario that Kim Stanley Robinson created in his Mars trilogy. We don't have the launch payload capacity. We don't have the landing zone accuracy. Even the concept of the kind of machinery needed to create habitable environments on Mars is too great to budget for and the machinery itself is too hard to maintain without a support structure for that maintenance. We won't be operating D9 bulldozers on other planets.

    It also came up that our country spent 4% of GDP in getting to the Moon six times. 4% of GDP let twelve men walk on the surface of another body for a few days. Without a nemesis country like the Soviet Union provided for us, there's no interest in committing any real money to getting us even back to the Moon, let alone to other planets.
  • A lot of bits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:12PM (#47121641) Journal

    How many bits would it take to describe a human at a molecular level?

  • Re: Yeah, no... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:16PM (#47121695)

    Don't forget to print the soul. Lolololol.

  • Doctorow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @03:33PM (#47122431) Journal

    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom hasn't come up yet?

    Coming to terms with what it might be to actually be human... printing ourselves and transferring a back-up to that body...
    what does that mean? will consciousness go with it?

    To me, consciousness is probably just an electronic current that holds us to our memory. The terrifying moment, even if I could replicate myself elsewhere, is,"What happens when I sever that connection and transfer over/" will I just die and a perfect copy keeps living on just as I was a moment ago, or do I go with it? *could anyone tell*? It is the stuff not just of the fear of death, but no one ever knowing that makes it a nightmare.

    Sorry to post so dark... nice weather, huh?

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak