Small farmers, conscious consumers, and conservationists of all  stripes are, at the very least, wary of genetically modified crops.  They’re a wild, largely untested disruptor in already-fragile ecosystems  that have gotten along just fine without any intrinsically-tinkered  species. But that hesitancy doesn’t really hold water if there’s no  ecosystem to begin with. Like on Mars, say.
Mars’ atmosphere boasts one-hundredth the density of Earth’s,  which will pose a deadly radiation threat to any life that might ever  try to inhabit it, including human colonists. According to Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh, “Any crew dispatched on the 18-to-30-month mission to  Mars will face highly elevated risks of cancer, tissue degradation, bone  density loss, brain damage, pharmaceutical spoilage, and other health  threats.”
You could argue that, of course, humans didn’t evolve alongside  the Martian landscape. But that’s just you muzzling your inner  science-fiction geek. Why let a little thing like “near-inhospitability  of a planet” crush our dreams of solar system stretching Manifest  Destiny? That, suggests Cavanaugh, is where genetic engineering comes  in.
Keep reading …

Small farmers, conscious consumers, and conservationists of all stripes are, at the very least, wary of genetically modified crops. They’re a wild, largely untested disruptor in already-fragile ecosystems that have gotten along just fine without any intrinsically-tinkered species. But that hesitancy doesn’t really hold water if there’s no ecosystem to begin with. Like on Mars, say.

Mars’ atmosphere boasts one-hundredth the density of Earth’s, which will pose a deadly radiation threat to any life that might ever try to inhabit it, including human colonists. According to Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh, “Any crew dispatched on the 18-to-30-month mission to Mars will face highly elevated risks of cancer, tissue degradation, bone density loss, brain damage, pharmaceutical spoilage, and other health threats.”

You could argue that, of course, humans didn’t evolve alongside the Martian landscape. But that’s just you muzzling your inner science-fiction geek. Why let a little thing like “near-inhospitability of a planet” crush our dreams of solar system stretching Manifest Destiny? That, suggests Cavanaugh, is where genetic engineering comes in.

Keep reading …