News, Technology

Scientists aim to safeguard the DNA of all Earth life on the moon as a backup

Ahsan Zafeer Written by Ahsan Zafeer · 1 min read>
Scientists want to store the DNA of 6.7 million of Earth’s species on a lunar ark as a backup option. The so-called lunar ark could preserve the sperm, eggs, and seeds of millions of Earth’s species, which scientists have proposed. The ark, or gene bank, would be safely hidden in the hollowed-out tunnels and caves sculpted by lava more than 3 billion years ago and would be powered by solar panels, reports Live Science. 

It would hold the cryogenically preserved genetic material of all 6.7 million known species of plants, animals, and fungi on Earth. It would require at least 250 rocket launches to reach the moon, according to the researchers. Scientists believe the endeavor could safeguard our planet’s wildlife against both natural and human-caused apocalyptic scenarios.

The scientists presented their lunar ark plans at the IEEE Aerospace Conference.

“We have a responsibility to be guardians of biodiversity and the means to preserve it.”,  lead author Jekan Thanga, head of the Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration (SpaceTREx) Laboratory at the University of Arizona, told Live Science.

Not all the technology needed for this ambitious project exists yet, but the researchers think it could be built within the next 30 years, Thanga said.

The main motivation behind the lunar ark is to create a secure off-world storage facility for biodiversity.

“I like to use the data analogy,” Thanga said. “It’s like copying your photos and documents from your computer onto a separate hard drive, so you have a backup if anything goes wrong.”

Therefore, if an apocalyptic event destroyed the natural world or wiped out most of humanity, there would be a chance to “hit a reset button,” Thanga said.

In their presentation, the researchers listed the following as potential existential threats to biodiversity on Earth: Supervolcanic eruption, global nuclear war, asteroid impact, pandemic, climate change acceleration, global solar storm, and global drought.

“The environment and human civilization are both very fragile,” Thanga said. “There are many of these really tragic circumstances that could happen.”

Source: Live Science

Written by Ahsan Zafeer
A digital marketing professional specializing in content-based functional areas - Ahsan Zafeer is driven by a never-ending passion for developing, nurturing, and strategizing key content aspects. He writes extensively on tech, digital marketing, SEO, cybersecurity, and emerging technologies. He also serves as a digital marketing strategist and freelance consultant for globally oriented organizations. He tweets @AhsanZafeer Profile