DNA is extraordinary. It can tell us who we are, it can tell us where we came from, and soon it will be able to tell us our entire family tree.
We can also translate binary into DNA and vice versa, which means we can email it.
So, we should probably be putting space scientists together with micro-biologists to see what the potential of DNA really is.
Right now, our understanding of DNA is as small as our understanding of the Universe (you read an article that suggests we live in a black hole and you think ‘Hmm, that might explain things’ – see below).
We are beginning to know what we do not know. And we should go back to the beginning, to our DNA.
Already we know that we can store enormous amounts of data on a single strand of DNA. We also know that we can email DNA across the world. A couple of years ago, scientists emailed the DNA of a good beer making barley from Canada to Australia.
Fast forward 20 years.
We have made it to Mars, we have built an encampment, and we are getting used to life on an alien world.
We have an unforeseen problem. We need more calcium, and this problem was not part of the computer simulations.
NASA gets the message, passes it on to Musk Central and a patch is formulated and emailed to Mars HQ. There it is downloaded into the bio-printer and injected into the meat alternative to increase the levels of calcium to compensate for the unforeseen shortage.
All is well until the technician in charge of the biosphere falls over and rips his suit. He suffers a serious radiation burn. There is not enough anti-rad to cure him on site. There is not enough time to send him home to save his life.
Musk Central concocts a DNA drug and emails it to Mars HQ. The 7G network gets it there instantly. There it is downloaded and injected – or eaten – by the technician and in a few hours, he or she is cured and back in the biosphere.
Meanwhile in 2021…
Whether we live in a black hole or Brisbane, and whether we believe in far-fetched science fiction, strange aliens or stranger humans, it seems that before we get too excited about reaching the furthest corners of our Galaxy, we should be very clear about how we survive.
From working out how we hibernate to working out how we stop our bodies disintegrating or avoid sneezing in space, it is a decent bet that our DNA will hold the answers to many of these questions.
And, as such, a few billion dollars should be funnelled from the space budget into DNA research.