Inside the Plan to Genetically Engineer the Perfect Astronaut

Scientists are preparing a catalogue of DNA to create next-gen space travelers.

July 4, 2017 5:00 am

Elon Musk wants to send people to Mars. But what good is getting astronauts to another planet if they’re not fit to survive there?

A new report in the MIT Technology Review explores the technologies that scientists are currently developing to edit DNA and create human beings who are primed for intergalactic travel. The perfect candidate, for example, might have a specific variant of EPAS1, common to Tibetans, that lets them get by with less oxygen. There’s another natural mutation that results in extra-lean, massive muscles that could counter atrophy.

The list goes on — and raises a variety of questions about both the capability of science and the ethics of tampering with nature. 

Some experts, however, would argue conversely that it would be extremely unethical to send an astronaut to another planet without editing their genes to give them a better chance to survive.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.