Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-08 > 1154878148

From: "Eric Olson" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Doomsday vault: experts suggest DNA, data be stored on moon
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2006 08:29:08 -0700

Perhaps because the simplest organisms contained the essential molecular
machinery of life to evolve according to whatever environment it
encountered. In such a scenario the simplest life form would have the best
chance to survive and adapt.


> [Original Message]
> From: Ken Nordtvedt <>
> To: <>
> Date: 8/6/2006 7:57:19 AM
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Doomsday vault: experts suggest DNA, data be stored on
> As one of the contrarians who believes that life in the universe could
> well be unique to its founding here on Earth, it seems a good idea to me
> launch such a genetic lifeboat into deep space, although I have no idea
> about the probabilities it would make any safe landing on a benign planet
> elsewhere, etc.
> But the converse is also an interesting Sunday morning speculation. Did
> life on Earth begin by a genetic lifeboat coming here from elsewhere a
> billion years ago? If it did, why did it contain only the very lowest
> of life in its vault --- single cell creatures?
> Ken
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "ljcrain" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2006 8:19 AM
> Subject: [DNA] Doomsday vault: experts suggest DNA, data be stored on moon
> <Begin Quote>
> By RICHARD MORGAN The New York Times
> When the dust settles after World War III, or World War IX, humanity will
> still want to grow pineapples, rice, coffee and other crops. That is why
> June on the island of Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic, all five
> Scandinavian prime ministers met to break ground on a $4.8-million
> vault" that will stockpile crop seeds in case of global catastrophe.
> While it boasts the extra safety of Arctic temperatures, the seed bank is
> just the latest life-preservation plan to reach reality, joining genetic
> banks like the Frozen Ark, a British program that is storing DNA samples
> from endangered species like the scimitar-horned oryx, the Seychelles
> Fregate beetle and the British field cricket.
> To a certain group preoccupied with doomsday, these projects are laudable
> but share a deep flaw: They are Earth-bound. A global catastrophe like
> collision with an asteroid or a nuclear winter would have to be rather
> tame in order not to rattle the test tubes in the various ark-style labs
> around the world. What kind of feeble doomsday would leave London safe
> sound?
> (snip)
> (Robert) Shapiro has written a number of books on the origins of life on
> Earth, as well as Planetary Dreams: The Quest to Discover Life Beyond
> where he unveiled the civilization rescue project.
> In 1999, the same year the book came out, Shapiro wrote an essay with
> Burrows for Ad Astra, an astronomy journal. There, they formally laid out
> their plan for the rescue alliance, beginning by warning that "the most
> enduring pictures to come back from the Apollo missions were not of
> astronauts cavorting on the Sea of Tranquillity, nor even of the lunar
> landscape itself."
> "They were the haunting views of Earth, seen for the first time not as a
> boundless and resilient colossus of land and water," they continued, "but
> a startlingly vulnerable lifeboat precariously plying a vast and
> sea: a blue marble in a black void." The concept is not new, but there
> some fresh momentum. Burrows new book, The Survival Imperative: Using
> to Protect Earth, is due out this month. And the physicist Stephen W.
> Hawking, who is not part of the group, began arguing this summer that
> survival depends on leaving Earth.
> <End Quote>
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