Mining moon rocks to reach deep space
5:14

Mining moon rocks to reach deep space

Science
[MUSIC] Welcome to What the Future. On today's show the European Space Agency lays out it's plan to build a lunar base for mining moon rocks. A parking structure that parks your car for you begins trial operation in China. And finally, we talk about the ethics of gene edited babies and cloning schizophrenic monkeys. Let's get into it. [SOUND] With the International Space Station set to be decommissioned in 2024, the European Space Agency believes a permanent lunar colony could be the next step in international space exploration. The ESA's vision for the moon involves four ambitious projects. The first is a collaboration with Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos. Lunar resource lander also known as Lunar 27 will be the first European lander to touch down on the moon. It's mission will be to drill into the moon's surface and analyze samples and determine whether or not there is any water. The ESA's next lunar project will be to provide service modules for NASA's four person crude transport vessel, the Orion spacecraft. ESA's modules will supply the astronauts aboard Orion with power, propulsion, water, and other necessities for deep space travel. Orion's first manned mission is a trip around the moon planned for the early 2020s. The ESA's next step will be to help NASA establish a deep space gateway in orbit around the moon. The gateway, planned for 2023, would give astronauts a place to conduct experiments in lunar orbit. And could make it possible to control robots on the lunar surface. The ability to remotely control a robot on the lunar surface could make possible a concept mission currently known as Heracles. Heracles is a remote-controlled rover that would go around gathering samples from unexplored areas on the moon's surface. The samples would then be returned to Earth aboard an Orion spacecraft. Where they would be analyzed to determine the feasibility of mining moon rocks to extract resources like water or oxygen ESA believes that being able to exploit lunar resources in this way, could open the door to more deep space exploration, and could turn the moon into a stepping stone to other worlds. [MUSIC] A 20 story garage that parks your care for you, recently began trials in Chongqing, China The high tech garage aims to reduce traffic congestion, emissions and land usage by parking cars without the need for pedestrian walkways, ramps for driving or stairs. Even the space usually reserved for opening car doors has been repurposed to fit more vehicles. Here's how it works, just drive to one of the entry points, turn off and exit the car. Scan the QR ode on the side of the garage And it'll whisk your car off to an available parking space. The whole process of moving a car into a space reportedly takes about a minute. I wouldn't be surprised to see this type of space saving automated parking structure become more widely used as the world's population continues to grow. [MUSIC] These five baby monkeys are all genetically identical clones of an original monkey whose genes were edited with Crisper. CRISPR is a type of gene editing technology derived from bacteria that is shaking up the world of medical science. In 2015, the American Association for the Advancement of Science crowned CRISPR the breakthrough of the year. In this experiment, the CRISPR method was used to genetically disrupt the circadian rhythm, also known as the biological clock of a monkey, which was then cloned five times. To make the monkey clones, scientists used the same cloning method that bore Dolly the sheep more than 20 years ago. So far, the genetically altered monkey clones have exhibited signs of psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia-like behaviors. Let's start with the most obvious question. Why use the god-like power of CRISPR gene editing to make monkeys that are destined to suffer like this? The research team responsible has said that eliminating genetic variation among test subjects can make studying diseases and cures faster and more efficient. They argue that this could lead to an overall reduction in animal suffering over time, though many others in the scientific community are not convinced that the ends justify the means, and the ethically questionable use of CRISPR doesn't end with monkeys. [MUSIC] Last November, gene edited twin girls named Lulu and Nana were born, after Professor Hung Jiankui used [UNKNOWN] to alter their DNA to make them immune to HIV. [MUSIC] Chinese authorities have since confirmed that there is also a second pregnancy in progress with another gene altered human embryo. And that genetically altered child is due in about six months. The twin's birth sparked outrage in the scientific community because of the risks and ethical boundaries crossed in this experiment. Thoughtless gene editing could put the infants at risk of health problems later in life. And could even someday affect the health of their children. To accomplish this scientific first, Dr. He reportedly forged ethics documents and could now face criminal charges As the scientific community rallies to create rules, regulations, and guidelines for CRISPR and its implementation, these infant humans and infant monkeys serve as stark reminders of the tremendous power modern humans wield. And the tremendous caution we must exercise as we decide how best to utilize our new tools and abilities. Thanks for watching What The Future. I'm your host, Jesse Arol. See you next time. [BLANK AUDIO]

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