Sustaining Resources for Homo Martis: The Potential Application of Synthetic Biology for the Settlement of Mars
Studia Humana 11 (1):1-16 (2022)
AbstractThe recent success of the Mars 2020 project and the high quality images relayed back to Earth have provided further impetus and expectations for human missions to Mars. To support space agency and private enterprise plans to establish a sustainable colony on Mars in the 2030s, synthetic biology may play a vital role to enable astronaut self-sufficiency. In this review, we describe some aspects of where synthetic biology may inform and guide in situ resource utilisation strategies. We address the nature of Martian regolith and describe methods by which it may be rendered fit for purpose to support growth and yield of bioengineered crops. Lastly, we illustrate some examples of innate human adaptation which may confer characteristics desirable in the selection of colonists and with a future looking lens, offer potential targets for human enhancement.
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