Sunday, October 28, 2012

SF and Science Tidbits: October 28, 2012: Biohackers and Mars Dreams

Interesting recent science:

• The Deferred Dreams of Mars | MIT Technology Review »

NASA originally suggested human exploration of Mars after landing on the moon, but funding cuts and technical problems have deferred that goal. Even now "basic problems"  like how to feed astronauts on a Mars mission - have yet to be solved. The current goal is a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s, but even that may be overly optimistic.  Brian Bergstein argues it's still a worthy goal:
"Exploring for its own sake, even when there is no immediate, obvious benefit, is something humans have always done."
I can't help but agree that's a worthy goal in and of itself.

Amateur "biohackers" in London with home-brewed labs are starting to attract the attention of professionals.

In the more dystopic science fiction futures, poor people end up selling their body parts so that the wealthy could replace damaged or failing organs. In more optimistically depicted futures, spare parts are grown in laboratories or made by replicators and everyone has access to excellent health care. 

Science has been progressing towards developing methods of growing body parts that could eventually make the organ trade obsolete. The article linked below covers some exciting recent progress in using stem cells to start the organ growing process.

But assuming they are eventually successful, I wonder if these brand new organs will be made available to everyone, or if they will only be an option for the rich and elite. 

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