Alienating Mars: Challenges of Space Colonization

Mar 12, 2022

11:30am – 12:30pm CT

Human bodies are optimized for life on Earth, and ill-equipped for environments like those we will encounter on Mars. But here at home there are organisms that thrive in the extremes: the coldest, hottest, driest, and saltiest places. As technologies like CRISPR enable us to manipulate our genes, there may be adaptive tools we can borrow from these extremophiles. But while we are absorbed in self-preservation, it will be easy to neglect the planet we hope to colonize by 2050. Humans do not have the best track record when it comes to ethical exploration. While there is no evidence for life on Mars — yet — there is still the matter of an entire land that has no one to speak for it, or to defend it. So in the process of getting humans to Mars, what values may be compromised along the way?

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Brooke Grindlinger
Brooke Grindlinger

New York Academy of Sciences

photo of Erika Nesvold
Erika Nesvold

Justspace Alliance

photo of Eliah Overbey
Eliah Overbey

Weill Cornell Medicine

photo of Charity Phillips-Lander
Charity Phillips-Lander

Southwest Research Institute

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