Saving Blueprint of Life

Category : Editorial

The complexity of life took billions of years to push and stretch and reshape the biological niche that is Earth. It would seem prudent - if one had the means - to save some portion of the blueprints of this majesty, so that the process would not have to start over from scratch in the event of a global cataclysm.

Such apocalyptic thoughts spur scientists on to discover some way to preserve mankind, along with all terrestrial flora and fauna, in case the Earth's bell is rung suddenly. Nuclear war is not the only way the lights could go out for the human race Asteroid strikes, pandemics, climatological or geological catastrophes could also do humans in. So it makes sense for earthlings to have an insurance policy to guarantee their survival so it's no surprise that the European Space Agency should think aloud about building a whole DNA library on the moon. A sort of a 'mini Noah's Ark', represented by every known organism, standing by on the moon, ready to repopulate the Earth after a big calamity wipes out terrestrial life. The Alliance to Rescue Civilization (ARC) advocates a "lunar sanctuary” to preserve Earth's whole record in case the planet is destroyed. DNA banks of this kind already exist on earth, as part of the 'Frozen Ark' programme, that catalogues species on the verge of extinction. "A 'DNA library' could consist of actual DNA samples, which might last for many thousands of years if stored dry, in the cold, and protected from radiation,"            

Reseeding a decimated Earth from a lunar base will not seem so farfetched when you consider the main hurdle is not so much the technology as the logistics involved. The samples themselves need not be raw DNA: it'd be more useful to store them in the form of cells or tissues that can later recreate individuals of the species. Stored on the cold, dry lunar surface protected from radiation, they may last many thousands of years independent of the Earth - a compact DNA archive that could be downloaded when necessary.                        


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