Lisa Nip: How humans could evolve to survive in space
Lisa Nip's work focuses on how we can use synthetic biology to allow humanity to explore space Full bio
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few and far between on Earth itself
by any measure,
their homes and livelihood endangered,
into unfamiliar territories
coursing through our own veins.
that we have waged on each other,
this desire to explore.
with our living conditions
and just too busy
made in its name
the ethos for space travel,
that our species' fragile constitution
for long duration journeys into space.
to your local national forest
to survive in this lush wilderness
that this local national forest
would be able to survive for a few days?
that the only source of water available
miles below the surface.
that no vegetation can be found,
exists to speak of.
of the many challenges we would face
whose destinations are so far removed
from Planet Earth?
or impossible miles of transport belts
to our home planet?
that grew up on Earth like us?
to find a new home under a new sun,
going to be spending much time
that any human has spent in space
in a microgravity environment
to the psychological.
in gravitational pull
will be fraught with dangers
new piece of mechanical technology
our species safe passage in space.
I believe the time has come
these bulky electronic giants
a self-generating, self-replenishing,
in a single plastic tube.
to utilize the capabilities of the microbe
which has given us antibiotics, vaccines
the physiological nuances
of nearly any organism,
of our man-made machines,
to engineer not only our food,
for our physical inadequacies
for space exploration,
to that of Hawaiian volcanic ash,
could actually support plant growth
we should probably ask is,
our plants cold-tolerant?
the temperature on Mars
negative 60 degrees centigrade.
our plants drought-tolerant?
that forms as frost
than I can say the word "evaporate."
we've already done things like this.
for anti-freeze protein from fish
from other plants like rice
into the plants that need them,
most droughts and freezes.
all the mouths of human civilization.
more precise ways to do it.
the genetic makeup of plants for space?
would mean needing to engineer
on an entirely new planet
of atmospheric gasses
a giant glass dome to contain it all.
a high-cost cargo transport mission.
and the air that we need
that have been engineered
to help us terraform a planet
be engineered to make medicine or fuel.
to bring highly engineered plants with us,
that we, as a species,
in the last five minutes
and I was standing there.
any of us on Mars right this minute,
very unpleasant health problems
that bombards the surface
or nonexistent atmosphere.
to stay holed up underground
on every new planet,
of protecting ourselves
to wearing a suit of armor
equal to your own body weight,
to nature for inspiration.
known as extremophiles,
from high school biology.
by the name of Deinococcus radiodurans.
dehydration, vacuum, acid,
tolerance mechanisms are known,
the relevant genes to mammals.
that go into its radiation tolerance,
as transferring one gene.
of its ability to tolerate radiation,
than what we already have,
very lethal doses of radiation.
humans like Tibetans,
who can ingest and metabolize arsenic,
that can kill the average human being.
by accidental mutations
allow certain humans
that we may not always have,
to find our place in the universe,
of extra functions
has termed the age of gene circumvention,
like cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy
of volitional evolution,
for ourselves our own genetic destiny.
with new abilities
of any living organisms,
and ethical quandaries.
make us less human?
that happens to be conscious?
to sit back and marvel at it.
from the external dangers
the many possibilities
and continues to afford us.
to discuss and embrace the solutions
is the line we must cross
of our species' improbable intelligence.
will be rife with trials
not only who we are
to use or abandon the technology
of our term in this universe.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERLisa Nip - Synthetic biologist
Lisa Nip's work focuses on how we can use synthetic biology to allow humanity to explore space
Why you should listen
Lisa Nip is a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab's Molecular Machines group. She uses her training in biochemistry and biotechnology to translate synthetic biology into real-world applications. She spends much of her time concocting biological solutions to long-duration space travel and works to make them a reality.
Nip was trained as a biochemist at Boston University, and previously did research in the Douglas Lab at UCSF and the Church Lab in the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Medical School.
Lisa Nip | Speaker | TED.com