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Author Topic: Should we build a mammalian cell bank on the moon?  (Read 1161 times)

Offline CliffordK

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Recent studies indicate that our moon actually has some of the coldest places so far discovered in our solar system.

The temperature inside of polar craters is about 37 Kelvin (-393 F)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022022904.htm
http://www.space.com/7311-moon-craters-coldest-place-solar-system.html

It is colder than Pluto.
Colder than Liquid Nitrogen (77.2 K).

Should we build a cold storage for human & other mammalian eggs, sperm, fertilized eggs, blastocysts on the MOON?  Perhaps also a backup food-crop seed bank.

Mark it with a big "X" so hopefully it would be located in the future.

I suppose this brings up a philosophical question.  Can we imagine a cataclysm other than Mutually Assured Destruction (wonderful term) that could wipe out enough humans to leave, perhaps 100 survivors out of 7 billion?  Enough to rebuild, but without significant genetic diversity.  In such a cataclysm, would the remaining 100 humans be able to recover and utilize such a genetic storage unit?

Now, the basic philosophical question.
Consider if 100% of humanity was wiped out (asteroid impact, super-disease, mutually assured destruction).  And, a billion years from now either a new dominant species evolved, or aliens found it the storage unit.  Then what?

You could reverse the question and say...
If we found an alien genetic storage unit on the moon (the last hope of Atlantis).
Would we resurrect the species?  What would their role on earth be?
Would we be willing to entrust human DNA to an unknown alien species?

It would also make a wonderful time-capsule for future humanity.

I'm not sure what the longterm viability of fertilized eggs would be.  At 37K, they should last a very long time.  It may need to be pressurized, and shielded from cosmic rays, although the pressure may not be able to be maintained.  Sealing glass tubes, then embedding the whole thing in a block of ice, it should be reasonably safe unless hit by a direct asteroid impact.  The biggest issue would likely be the natural inclusion of 14C and 3H in the DNA.

Would our moon be the best place to build it, or should we put it on Titan?


 

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