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‘My 500-year plan to alter human DNA to make us ready to colonise other planets’

6 2 17

Pack a suitcase and cancel Netflix: the human race is leaving for Mars.

No, it’s not the plot of a new Hollywood blockbuster, but the work of Chris Mason, a renowned geneticist at Cornell University. He’s just released a book, ‘The Next 500 years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds’.

It looks at the nexus between genetics and astronomy, using technology to create Mason's vision. And that is, quite simply, that Earth will eventually become impossible for humans to live on, so we should plan our escape.

Speaking to RT.com, he said, “The premise of the book is that I want to lay out what I believe and hope will happen for the next 500 years. This includes not just the technology behind how we could get to another planet and survive there, but also the moral argument of why we have to go.

In particular, its because we have a genetic duty where we have to protect ourselves. If we want to survive we need to eventually get to another planet, because the Sun will run out of fuel. But we also have to serve as guardians and shepherds of all life.”

Granted, it does take some lateral thinking for a layperson to buy into Mason’s theory. But everything he says is rooted in an objective stance and uses existing technology.

For a start, it’s stated that Earth has 4.7 billion years left before it turns to lava. However, Mason thinks the human race will have to depart long before then, and explained, “Researching the book, I saw that in a billion years the Suns luminance will increase enough to probably begin to boil the oceans. We could maybe live underground for a while.

Thats assuming we dont screw anything up first or get hit by an asteroid or other problems emerge. Weve been hit by many asteroids over the past 4 billion years, and we know the Earth has been bombarded and continues to be bombarded by things from space. So, Im hopeful after 500 years well have the technology to go towards other planets and stars.”

One planet he has his eyes on is Mars. That is where he thinks we should first move to – but it won't be the only destination. Mason continued, “The Earth is fabulous, we just know it has a finite time. Were........

© RT.com

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