Virgin Galactic brings its first passenger into space
Welcome to What the Future.
On today's show, Virgin Galactic has brought its first passenger into space, a new deep sea robot could someday help NASA explore oceans on distant worlds, and finally, new research shows that gene edited CRISPR babies born late last year might have changes in their cognition.
As an unintended result of genetic tampering.
Let's get into it.
Virgin Galactic space plane, the VSS Unity, reached space for the second time last week.
And this time, they brought their first passenger along for the ride.
Astronaut trainer Beth Moses, who will be tasked with getting future space plane passengers up to speed on what to expect during their trip to the edge of space.
The VSS Unity was carried up to 45,000 feet by a carrier aircraft before being released.
It hit a new speed record, three times the speed of sound, and climbed higher than the space plane had ever been, 55.85 miles above the Earth.
The VSS Unity has room for up to passengers and two pilots.
A ticket aboard Virgin space plane goes for $200, 050 and so far more than 600 people have signed up to take the trip.
[SOUND] This new autonomous deep sea robot is called Orpheus.
It was designed to explore the ocean's hadal zone, which is named after the realm of Hades from Greek mythology.
It is the deepest region of the ocean and stretches from 20,000 feet below the surface down into the ultimate darkness at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 36,000 feet down.
The technology has not been available to explore this region of the ocean in significant detail, but Orpheus helps to change that.
It reached 600 feet down on its first untethered test dive back in September.
A small step forward towards grand ambitions.
Orpheus was built to withstand the tremendous deep sea pressure, more than 16,000 pounds per square inch.
Four cameras on board Orpheus are meant to take photos of the sea floor which Orpheus stitches together as it noses its way through the darkness.
Weights inside the underwater drone will help it reach the depths of the hadal zone, and when its mission is complete it releases the weights to return to the surface.
Eventually, scientists hope to create a fleet of Orpheus drones to work together and explore the dark abyss of the hadal zone, but the dream of Orpheus doesn't end there.
NASA's jet propulsion laboratory is also lending a hand with the Orpheus project, partly because this technology may someday be of use on distant worlds.
Europa, Jupiter's smallest moon Is one of our solar system's best bets at finding a life outside of Earth because it's home to a massive ocean buried under ice.
Orpheus may prove to be an early prototype of a future drone capable of exploring the frozen oceans of Europa.
But for now I just can't wait to see what sort of alien looking critters Orpheus discovers lurking in the depths of the.
Dr. He Jankui sparked controversy in the scientific community, when he genetically altered the embryos of twin girls to make them immune to HIV.
The controversy was partly due to the fact that such genetic tampering can have unintended consequences, and new research is telling us what some of those consequences might be.
The gene Dr. Hud deleted is called CCR5.
HIV requires the CCR5 gene in order to enter human blood cells.
However, new research into the gene has also shown that disabling the gene in mice makes them smarter.
That may sound like a good thing, but humans are not mice.
Our genes are complicated and many of them serve multiple functions.
Researcher say the CCR5 genes plays a major role in memory and the brain ability to make connections.
It's impossible to predict how delusion this pain reaction between brains which is exactly why there some prosper technology in this case has been so controversial.
Thanks for watch what the future.
I'm your host Jesse Orel and I'll see you next time.