U.S. Department of Defense's DARPA Research Eerily Similar to Terraformars

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) alluded on Monday that its got its eyes set on Mars, even if the goal is very far away. DARPA has official funding to back research projects previously limited to the world of science-fiction. This includes biotech helmed by DARPA's Biological Technologies Office, which is currently looking into synthetic biology and pushing forward engineered organisms. As early as 2010, DARPA announced "BioDesign" program to engineer "immortal" lifeforms that could be killed with the flip of a switch. The agency also hosts a robotics contest with participants from across the globe.

This research coupled with the program's reach into the final frontier may mean inhospitable areas on Earth and space could welcome human life.

“For the first time, we have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not just to visit, but to stay,” Biological Technologies Office deputy director Alicia Jackson said at a DARPA-hosted biotech conference. She said this while an image of terraformed Mars was displayed.

The technology is just getting its foot off the ground. The announcement and much of the research shares a striking similarities to Yū Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana's Terra Formars manga's scenario, however that world of genetically engineering humans with insects and a terraform Mars attempt turns into a disaster.

DARPA would need to engineer plants to grow on Mars to make the planet's atmosphere hospitable for human life. The group is working on a computer program that instead of merely mapping an organism's genome, it also locates areas best suited for genetic engineering. The group hopes to create new types of extremophile organisms that would naturally heal inhospitable environments with photosynthesis. First tests would take place on areas hit by natural disasters, then possibly space.

[Via Motherboard]

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