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DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars

DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars

by Giulio PriscoJune 25, 2015

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes that it’s on the way to creating synthetic organisms capable of terraforming Mars into a planet that looks more like Earth, Motherboard reports.

Speaking at a recent biotech conference hosted by DARPA, Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO) said:

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.

Jackson, who joined DARPA in 2010, is a researcher specialized in the integration of engineering with biology to assemble cells and inorganic materials and create self-healing, evolvable materials. The BTO is a DARPA division that aims to merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security. The BTO aims to develop new products and systems that go beyond what is possible with conventional chemistry and manufacturing technologies. BTO’s Living Foundries program does research on how to leverage the unparalleled synthetic and functional capabilities of biology to create a revolutionary, biologically-based manufacturing platform.

Engineering Extremophile Organisms to Change the Atmosphere of Mars

Synthetic BiologyTerraforming Mars means hacking the red planet to make it suitable for the establishment of a terrestrial ecosystem and human life, and is a necessary prerequisite for the plans to colonize Mars that have been proposed by visionary thinkers like Robert Zubrin and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. The terraforming process would need to warm-up and thicken the atmosphere of Mars, which can be accomplished with bacteria, algae and photosynthesizing plants specialized to thrive in the Mars environment.

Tweaking existing life forms to engineer new ones is the goal of advanced biotech and synthetic biology, but so far only two organisms – e. coli and yeast – have been used in synthetic biology research.

Jackson is more ambitious. “There are anywhere from 30 million to 30 billion organisms on this Earth. We use two right now for engineering biology,” she said.

I want to use any organism that has properties I want – I want to quickly map it and quickly engineer it. If you look at genome annotation software today, it’s not built to quickly find engineerable systems. It’s built to look for an esoteric and interesting thing I can publish an academic paper on.

mars astronaut

Jackson and her team have been working on a software tool called GTA GView, or the “Google maps of genomes,” which will allow geneticists to quickly search for the type of genetic material they need for an engineering project. As a result, they will be able to engineer organisms for much more specific purposes.

Future versions of the tool could could search for specific genes in organisms and know which ones to splice together for a specific purpose within a day. That would allow researchers to create extremophiles that could survive conditions in the extreme environment of Mars, and the photosynthesis from those organisms could make the planet habitable for humans.

It may seem odd that DARPA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military, does research aimed at the terraforming and colonization of Mars, but of course the same cutting edge research in synthetic biology could lead to increased process versatility and resiliency in a combat environment with extreme conditions.

Images from NASA and Shutterstock.

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  • someone

    Can’t even prove we been to space or the world is round! But people.believe this bullshit! Seriously,prove the earth is round! You can’t do it! Show me real proof and I have no issue but there isn’t any! And don’t say NASA or any other military industrial ran corporation from anywhere on the planet, be it Russian, Chinese or anything. They are all in bed with each other even though msm makes itnout to be USA vs China/Russia that’s just bullshit smoke screen. They been helping each other for CENTURIES! Elietes helping elites and the rich!

    As for this storey, that’s for this place, not other planets! People with control just want more control, power corrupts, absolute power (where we are today) corrupts absolutely!

    You all need stop watching their most powerful weapon against us, the TV and newspapers etc they program you through these means, as well as school, collage, uni and especially military school!
    So obvious, everyone’s so blind 🙁

    • lah30303

      You can buy a weather balloon for somewhere between $25-$100, stick a camera onto it, let it go, and get your own pictures of a round earth. From space.

    • Mike

      One of the oldest proofs of the Earth’s shape, however, can be seen from the ground and occurs during every lunar eclipse. The geometry of a lunar eclipse has been known since ancient Greece. When a full Moon occurs in the plane of Earth’s orbit, the Moon slowly moves through Earth’s shadow. Every time that shadow is seen, its edge is round. Once again, the only solid that always projects a round shadow is a sphere.

      • someone

        @ both replies – it took me a long time to even consider that the earth may not be round to. I’m not saying its not, what I am saying is all the pictures, video etc etc is fake and manipulated just like everything on TV is manipulated. I hate the word controlled, that’s not what they are doing, its mass blackmail through peodophiller when you get to the core of it. But I’m wondering a bit but its all connected.

        Don’t you think its a bit precise for the moon be 200 times smaller and just perfectly 200 times further away? Why only 1 side of the moon? Prove the other planets ‘rotate’ that isn’t doctored. I’m sorry to say you can’t because non of it can be trusted! These people bodged jfk, bothched titanic (JP Morgan), bothced up the bay of pigs, botched up 9/11, Boston bombing, 7/11 and many more but people are so programmed at school, uni, college, military school etc etc they can’t see the woods for the trees!

        Listen I know it sounds mad but think about it. Drop everything you been told and have a fresh look as if you don’t know anything! Same with everything in life, and you’ll begin to see what I’m saying. Trust me, I’m not alone in this! There is NO evidence for a round earth, just theories still. The same people that ruled roman times rule today. Same bloodlines. Romans moved east and created the byzantine era. They used the old roman mailing network as the spy network. Today they have you carrying phones, tracking you through every means, especially Facebook and their facial recognition bullshit. And people freely give their freedom away! A simple search shows it was funded by IN-Q-TEL which is a arm of the CIA for monitoring online activity!

        A little bit of open mindedness and the ability to realise people fail and are wrong all the time and success is built on many failures will take you a long way to seeing the truth. And the truth sets us free! It really does, no matter how dark it is (and it is very VERY dark! Check out bill malony & pie’n’mash films, but be warned, this is at the core of it all! Institutional peodophiller that’s used for blackmail! And that is the truth! Royal families, rich corporate companies (DuPont – raped his own children too, escapes prison, Johnson & Johnsons so called ‘curse’ is the fact they know what’s going on themselves and helped centralise everything! Etc etc)).

        Please note that I’m not saying the earth isn’t round, I’m saying the evidence provided doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and a lot more people are seeing this now!

        The lies have been going on for millennia! And humans have been around at least 1-2 million years. Something happened 12,000 years ago and we been in amnesia ever since. A few people rise to power all around the planet but now they all scratch each others backs! China, Russia, USA, UK, Israel, Vatican etc etc all communicate to spread the fear people carry and create themselves! Its simple and genius at the same time! Social engineering is so hard at work today anyone can do it!

        Look at butterfly lab ran by already convicted criminals, all with military back grounds and screwed In the head. All lack empathy and all know the alphabet soup is a joke! They understand the social engineering and use it to their own gain! They are no different than our manipulators but they don’t have as much control! These people created this environment we have today to produce more of their own!

        Hell, you can’t prove that aliens are not here even! Are they manipulating it all? The problem is so much disinformation, misinformation created its impossible for most people to even conversate about it! Most people jump to labels as its the easy option! Though and critical thinking is not humans strong point in these present times! Peace

        • blargh

          you’ve got mental problems. Where on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum do you fall?

        • Steve Schmidt

          Calm down a little, OK?

          If you would like some low-tech proof, go out on the ocean and record the rate at which ship hulls (and superstructures) disappear as they move away from you. This happens at exactly the same rate in all directions, and in every ocean on the planet. It’s pretty easy to calculate the diameter of a sphere within about 10%, and no other explanation fits the data.

          A second example is the changing phases of the moon (and any planet close enough to exhibit a circle). They do so in a manner that is only consistent with spherical objects; you can test this out by hanging an orange on a string and then moving a light source around it in a dark room; it exhibits exactly the same changing phases that the moon does.

          This isn’t a bunch of stuff being stuffed down our throats by current evil (insert class of person here). G=m*m/d*d was arrived at by Isaac Newton a long time ago, who actually discovered that planets move in elipses rather than circles, and who had to invent the calculus in order to figure it all out. Planetary bodies continue to comply slavishly with this 18th-century heresy.

        • texasvet

          You watch too much youtube. Go buy a telescope. You can actually buy one with tracking software. Now select the ISS. Feast your eyes on that lovely piece of space station. Also, your little theory is probably based off that wooden bridge experiment. It’s been proven FALSE. You want proof of a round Earth. Look up TIMEZONES. Also, explain how you can see further up high than you can on the ground. If the earth were flat, it’d all be the same.

          And yes, there is undeniable proof of the Earth’s roundness, photos, weather balloons and even airplanes. Get of the net, go see a shrink, get admitted, take your meds and we’ll never speak of this again.

        • Ben Richardson

          There is PLENTY of evidence to support and prove almost everything you perceive as fake, stop being one of those ignorant deniers who won’t or cant prove it to themselves. Look up things, read a little more. The truth is the government is corrupt, but the story is a LOT more complicated and twisted than you think. Half-truths, twisted-truths, and real truth thrown in all together. But in terms of what can be proven and measured, it is impossible for the Third Eye NWOs, or whatever rubbish you believe, to mess with your own personal scientific equipment. You can’t put a cover on the skies and can’t hide the universe. A second question to ask yourself is why? Why would they want us to believe that the universe is essentially a bunch of atoms orbiting other atoms, like everything astral and subatomic is. Get on a plane and look out of the window, there is plenty of evidence, use your eyes not your imagination.
          Are the governments of the world trying to control us? Yes. That’s why they’re called ‘governments’. Are they lying about things? Yes, every single person lies. Are they lying about Earth being round? No. And that is only because society has evolved and injected its ACTUAL truth from ACTUAL discoveries into the ever-God-fearing ‘system. The system has changed, some more than others. But to say that EVERYTHING ‘they’ say is a lie is redundant. It’s NOT a black and white divide between truth and lie.

  • texasvet

    Here’s the thing. If we find life on Mars before DARPA successfully creates a terraforming toolkit, it should become a protected planet. We should not interfere with a world that already has life on it. We don’t have that right. If there is zero life there. That’s another story.

    • Scarsquid

      Hate to tell you but there isn’t currently life on Mars.

      • texasvet

        Hate to tell you this, but nothing we’ve sent up there can tell. We didn’t know that there was life around hydrothermal vents until a few years ago. There is presently organic chemicals on Mars. Meaning there is a very real possibility of life still existing.

        Second. You have no idea if there is or there isn’t. My point was if there is, it needs to be protected.

        • Aldo

          I don’t think there’s anything wrong with terraforming another planet with basic life. The rules change when it comes to stuff like this, we do get play around and be god every once in awhile.

          • texasvet

            And what if an alien civilisation came across a primordial earth with “basic life” and decided to terraform? We wouldn’t be here. Any life needs to be protected and allowed to propagate. If it’s a dead world, by all means, terraform.

    • Giulio Prisco

      If there were elephants and dogs on Mars I would totally agree with you, but we know there aren’t. There may be micro-organisms, and we should do our best to find and study them – but I don’t think they should take precedence over people when it comes to terraforming Mars. I don’t know where to place the line between elephants and micro-organisms, but I guess a line should (and will) be set.

    • SmashingYoungMan

      The hell it should. Mars is ours.

      • texasvet

        It isn’t anyones. It just is.

  • kumamato

    I support this fully!

    WE should colonize the heck out of that planet!

  • kris s

    How about our own planet?

  • Christopher

    Did anyone else think of the Descolada from the Ender’s Game series?

  • Diego Floor

    At the moment every mission is EXTRA careful to not contaminate other planets with any sort of life. One of the arguments to do this is that if we contaminate it then we’ll never know if it had life already, and finding out if there’s life outside earth is one of the main objectives of every mission. After the possibility for martian life is excluded then we could talk about terraforming.

  • 999BTC

    Ahahahaha. Getting even better 😀 Is this a satire website?

  • Robert Genito

    About the astronaut on Mars photo…was that supplied by NASA? 😉