Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the ok-use-the-wormhole-to-get-the-printer dept.

Biotech 323

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Adam Steltzner, the lead engineer on the NASA JPL's Curiosity rover mission, believes that to send humans to distant planets, we may need to do one of two things: look for ways to game space-time—traveling through wormholes and whatnot—or rethink the fundamental idea of 'ourselves.' 'Our best bet for space exploration could be printing humans, organically, on another planet,' said Steltzner."

cancel ×

323 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yeah, no... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121269)

I'm certain we've mastered space-time enough to "fold around" before the "printing" of humans and incepting them with their old memory again is doable. Seriously.

Re:Yeah, no... (3, Funny)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 3 months ago | (#47121319)

We can just imagine them into existence. And then some unicorns.

Re:Yeah, no... (3, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#47121551)

I love science fiction and fantasy. Can I also imagine a bunch of hot, sexy vampire women who want to take me away from my bitch wife and fuck my brains out?

Re:Yeah, no... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 months ago | (#47121601)

You joke, but you've happened on a good point. By the time we have the technology to conjure life into existence anywhere in the galaxy, why bother with humans? Surely we'll be able to make bodies that are much more suited for the universe beyond Earth.

Cavil's lament [youtube.com] from BSG comes to mind.

Re: Yeah, no... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121695)

Don't forget to print the soul. Lolololol.

Re:Yeah, no... (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | about 3 months ago | (#47121329)

Pretty sure he didn't mean we should start doing this tomorrow.

Re:Yeah, no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121687)

Pretty sure OP didn't mean we would know how to "fold" tomorrow.

Re:Yeah, no... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121377)

Don't read this... it is a curse...

In 1986, a precarious little boy named Eric got pregnant with two babies. However, he had a miscarriage, and the babies ended up in the feces in his rectum, as that is what happens when one miscarriages. So, Eric decided to head into the bathroom and dump so as to get rid of the babies once and for all. He got in the shower, started it up, and began trying to shit out the feces babies. Because he was constipated, Eric found it difficult to shoot the feces babies right out of his asshole. Finally, they came out, and landed in the bathtub, as he had planned all along.

Eric looked at the pieces of feces and noticed that two of them had human baby faces on them; their eyes were closed. Then, they started crying. Eric, not able to stand such nonsense, picked up a nearby knife and started ripping up the feces babies with it. "Drown in strut!" he screamed. At last, the babies stopped crying. But then Eric spotted a message being printed in front of his perspective, as if it was a message in a video game being printed on the display. The message read, "A WIND TURBINE IS BROKEN. DO E E." Eric then noticed the whole room was fading to black...

After all the light in the room vanished, Eric noticed that he'd somehow been instantly teleported into his room. He was now lying on the blankets on top of his bed, with his eyes closed. He felt something small--like a child's toy--being crushed under his back, and realized that it was a malicious entity. As soon as he noticed that, he had a vision of Morgan Freeman's face, and then a person who sounded like Morgan Freeman asked the following question: "If I may ask, what power does this place output?" The small entity under Eric's back replied, "Oh, you know... wind-powered, solar-powered, nuclear-powered, tickle!"

Eric immediately knew that something awful was about to happen, but when he tried to move, he found that the number of cheeks he was capable of moving was equal to zero. Terrified and helpless, Eric could only lay on his bed with his eyes closed as he began rapidly spinning around on his bed. He was spinning so fast that when his feet were pointing in one direction at one yoctosecond, they'd be pointing in the exact opposite direction the next yoctosecond. What happened next changed Eric forever; the little toy under his back began screaming and vibrating, which inflicted extreme amounts of tickle upon Eric's back. Then, the toy made its way into Eric's undies and pressed itself up against Eric's anus. A "VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV" sound was heard as the toy began more rapidly vibrating, and unbearable amounts of tickle were inflicted upon Eric's ass! Eric was never seen again...

Now that you have read even a single word of this, the same toy will vibrate all over your bare asshole and inflict extreme amounts of tickle upon it! To prevent this from occurring, copy this entire story and post it as a comment three times.

Re: Yeah, no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121757)

Bravo, sir. This is why I read slashdot.

Out of his discipline (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47121461)

I wish that people that are very, very smart on one particular subject or discipline would be a little more careful before they speak on matters outside of their area of expertise, especially on stuff as outlandish as what this particular individual has suggested.

I had an interesting conversation with a man that develops re-entry systems and the test-beds used to develop and test them. He was very down-to-earth on the costs associated with launching materiel; basically in his mind it was not practical at this point to enact the scenario that Kim Stanley Robinson created in his Mars trilogy. We don't have the launch payload capacity. We don't have the landing zone accuracy. Even the concept of the kind of machinery needed to create habitable environments on Mars is too great to budget for and the machinery itself is too hard to maintain without a support structure for that maintenance. We won't be operating D9 bulldozers on other planets.

It also came up that our country spent 4% of GDP in getting to the Moon six times. 4% of GDP let twelve men walk on the surface of another body for a few days. Without a nemesis country like the Soviet Union provided for us, there's no interest in committing any real money to getting us even back to the Moon, let alone to other planets.

Re:Out of his discipline (2)

BaronM (122102) | about 3 months ago | (#47121635)

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is going to go ahead and do it anyway: http://www.wired.com/2012/11/e... [wired.com]

I wouldn't bet my life on his succeeding, but I wouldn't bet it on his failing, either.

Re: Yeah, no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121539)

Might be doable now but with McRib meat instead of human flesh...when McDonalds brings back the McRib again, of course. Might be a lil bit.

Re:Yeah, no... (1)

Megane (129182) | about 3 months ago | (#47121673)

It's easy, you just take a man and a woman, and give them eighteen years or so. That's 36 man years, but we should be able to speed it up by putting more people on the job!

Re:Yeah, no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121795)

I think your idea is a little fucked up.

Fine... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121295)

But not until my $1,200 3d printer can print me a girlfriend.

Re:Fine... (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47121349)

The problem is if they are too realistically human, they keep leaving you.

Re:Fine... (1)

sunsurfandsand (1959680) | about 3 months ago | (#47121393)

But not until my $1,200 3d printer can print me a girlfriend.

Your friends will criticize her for being so plastic.

Re:Fine... (1)

SrLnclt (870345) | about 3 months ago | (#47121603)

So in a few years referring to a women as a "material girl" could be considered an ethnic slur?

Futurama (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 3 months ago | (#47121495)

Isn't there an episode where Fry downloads Lucy Liu to essentially "print" onto his date-robot?

And speaking of which, why aren't more resources being put into developing sex-bots? It could solve so many problems in this world if we could have robot slave girls to have sex with all the time.

Re:Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121599)

At first glance, you'd think that having such access would solve problems. But, since most sexual misbehavior is about power as much (or more) than it is about sex you could only solve it if the "sex-bots" as you put it had free will and said "no" most of the time.

Re:Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121719)

^^maybe someone get that creeps ip address and call the police

Re:Futurama (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 3 months ago | (#47121749)

You could program them that way if you want.

Check out any S&M/B&D club. The people there are all going "no please, no master", but it's all consensual because if they really want it to stop there's a safe-word, and when that's said, it really does stop.

With a robot, easy enough to program it to say no, and even resist slightly, but there's no safe-word, since after all, it's a robot.

Re:Futurama (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47121821)

With a robot, easy enough to program it to say no, and even resist slightly, but there's no safe-word, since after all, it's a robot.

No? What about "FATAL ERROR?"

just start builing transporters or find stargates (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47121297)

just start building transporters or find star gates to use

my clones' an asshole (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 months ago | (#47121611)

I find that Dr. McCoy's views on the safety of transporters are reasonable and founded in reality.

Re:just start builing transporters or find stargat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121745)

Well as the old internet meme goes, "one does not simply just start building transporters or find star gates to use."

One needs to solve the physics, engineering, and philosophical problems associated with building a transporter or one needs to carry out a large and possibly fruitless search for space time shortcuts.

And in the case of preexisting space time shortcuts, they may not necessarily be located in ideal locations.

Are we our genes? (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47121311)

I think there's a case to be made that genetically being human is far less important to being "human" than the shared culture we've developed. Organically laying out a clone of yourself is far less like yourself than raising an adopted child. This kind of program, while inspired, and theoretically plausible, doesn't actually achieve what we want to achieve.

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 3 months ago | (#47121487)

I think there's a case to be made that genetically being human is far less important to being "human" than the shared culture we've developed. Organically laying out a clone of yourself is far less like yourself than raising an adopted child. This kind of program, while inspired, and theoretically plausible, doesn't actually achieve what we want to achieve.

Theoretically plausible? Really, in what universe?

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47121525)

In one where biotechnology continues to advance at the rate we've seen in the past 3 decades.

Re:Are we our genes? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47121575)

It's plausible in the sense that no fundamental laws are violated. It isn't like time-travel or true perpetual motion - it's just an engineering challenge. An impossibly hard engineering challenge, true. One that may take centuries to solve. But still, it's plausible.

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47121841)

I'd hold off until consciousness is quantified before claiming such a thing is plausible.

Without consciousness, a human body is nothing but a chemical processing facility without a crew to run it.

Re:Are we our genes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121581)

Theoretically plausible? Really, in what universe?

Well, obviously its plausible in the universe where such things are plausible, duh. Oh, and in that disturbing /b universe. There's all kinds of wild shit that goes on in that one.

Re:Are we our genes? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47121503)

That limited definition of "clone" has recently been widely adopted simply because it is currently within reach. A full clone would be a full copy of yourself, with every neuron in place. Full cloning seems like the only rationale for "printing" people, since otherwise it would be much easier to send a frozen embryo in an artificial uterus with robot-mom to raise him/her.

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47121555)

Which is silly because:

A. You couldn't actually produce identical biomechanical states in any meaningful capacity. The bandwidth requirement alone would be stupidly large.
B. If you did have such an ability, biological mechanisms would continue to flow while you built "me", which result in some very very nasty artifacts. You can't bathe in the same river twice.

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47121859)

I suppose full cloning is silly, since mind-uploading seems both more technically feasible (or rather, somewhat less technically infeasible?) and also more advantageous if "you" are going into a different habitat.

I suppose the bigger issue is that nobody but you cares whether it is you who goes, or another equally qualified individual. And the most qualified individual is sure to be one of our ancestors or creations, not any one of us reading this.

Re:Are we our genes? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 months ago | (#47121703)

By "printing" I'm assuming they mean to duplicate the template person entirely - including memories. That tech might not exist today, and we might never be able to, but if we could, it would certainly work great for this.

Depending on the data size it might be feasible to store the templates of a few dozen individuals. Half male, half female. All the varying skillsets. Send out a few hundred probes that would systematically search star systems and if it finds an uninhabited one that could sustain human life, touch down and print/deploy/grow/whatever its digitally stored crew to colonize the planet.

The same individuals might get duplicated on quite a few planets - possibly during different time frames. IE, a probe lands, one crew builds a society, persists for thousands or hundreds of thousands of years, and then finally perishes, whilst the other ones continue to search and might touch down and redeploy further duplicates of those individuals millions of years later.

Ultimately, the question of "are we alone" in the universe becomes meaningless. Is there other life elsewhere? Quite likely, but even if its NOT, life in the universe has begun - as evidenced by ourselves. Even if we're the only examples, we can spread life everywhere else.

Mad Scientists' Dream (1, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47121321)

Let's print up 20,000 Sarah Palin's on Orionis IV just for the hell of it.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about 3 months ago | (#47121415)

What do you have against Orionis IV?

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (2, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47121431)

Let's print up 20,000 Sarah Palin's on Orionis IV just for the hell of it.

Oooooh. And 5 Justin Biebers. And then televise what happens next.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 months ago | (#47121443)

Queen bee syndrome is inevitable. There can be only one!

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47121663)

Nah, it'll be more like the last Matrix movie with thousands of Agent Smith running around.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121497)

What have the poor folks on Orionis IV ever done to you?

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

Todd Palin (1402501) | about 3 months ago | (#47121591)

Now we are talking. One just isn't enough for the world. Maybe they could debate each other.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

xmousex (661995) | about 3 months ago | (#47121737)

hahahaha "debate"

good one.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47121805)

Think of the RIVERS of drool.

Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47121843)

We'll also need to make 20 000 lonely business executives to keep the laws of supply and demand.

The Songs of Distant Earth (4, Informative)

Crash24 (808326) | about 3 months ago | (#47121331)

Aside from the whole organic-3D-printing-of-entire-humans angle, this isn't a new idea. Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth [wikipedia.org] features an extraterrestrial colony of humans descended from machine-grown progenitors.

Re:The Songs of Distant Earth (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 3 months ago | (#47121499)

Aside from the whole organic-3D-printing-of-entire-humans angle...

The article doesn't actually describe anything similar to 3D printing either. The justification for calling it that is pretty much: 3D printing involves assembling a final product from raw materials; the proposal also involves assembling a final product from raw materials; therefore we're talking about 3D printing.

In general the idea is interesting -- although it's hardly new, and we're so far from the technology level required to do it that it's still in the realm of science fiction -- but the 3D printing angle is nonsense.

Re:The Songs of Distant Earth (1)

almitydave (2452422) | about 3 months ago | (#47121807)

Heck, you could describe a fetus developing in the womb as 3D printing - you're feeding raw materials into a biological device that essentially prints itself.

The author of the article isn't about transferring consciousness, so "all you need" is a way to to encode the genome (doable), a way to transmit this encoding (also doable), a way to construct artificially a zygote using this genetic information (uh...), and then an artificial womb a la The Matrix to gestate the embryo. Also robots to raise the child and teach him why he's there and what his mission is.

You could build a robotic interstellar exploration craft containing all the information and supplies needed to jumpstart a human population on any given planet, essentially creating an initial group of standard clones. This could be a good basis for a sci-fi story if it isn't already. I may even use it as the premise for that video game I'll never get around to writing.

Re:The Songs of Distant Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121861)

Yep, heck theoretically you should be able to fit some sperm and eggs in a small enough container and transport that. The real issue which we are pretty close to solving in an artificial womb.

Of course you would also need some type of nano-bot self constructing army to build a habitat and laboratory, ultimately that probably a bigger challenge than the cloning itself.

Planting an oak (1)

ggpauly (263626) | about 3 months ago | (#47121337)

Conforming to einsteinian space-time, it will take more than a present-day human life span to get a printer and your scan to a nice(ish) planet.

Maybe we need to work on the lifespan.

I plant oak seedlings; most do not.

Re:Planting an oak (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#47121453)

I thought that was the basic concept. Spend 500 years traveling, and when you arrive, print out a bunch of 20-30 year old scientists, engineers, mechanics, etc. to start building the colony. Once you've printed a large enough group to be viable, they can make more the old fashioned way.

This guy reads too much sci-fi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121351)

These are the people we have heading up space exploration? Sounds like he's more suited for making low budget sci-fi movies. Seriously, this kind of tech is so far beyond our capabilities it doesn't even pay to bring it up in a serious conversation.

Re:This guy reads too much sci-fi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121445)

You realize that the low budget sci-fi movies from 50 years ago often don't come close to the tech we have today?

Re:This guy reads too much sci-fi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121651)

I don't know - Star Trek had transporters, phasers, communications devices that worked over large distances (and at greater than light speed), FTL travel, shuttle craft, etc. Even stuff from earlier like Flash Gordon we still don't have.

Re:This guy reads too much sci-fi. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 3 months ago | (#47121605)

Yup, you'd need some *serious* nanotechnology to be able to print functioning cells, and you'd have to know the wiring of a brain to the subcellular (probably molecular) level to make it work. Not within the next 30 years.

Re:This guy reads too much sci-fi. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47121763)

These are the people we have heading up space exploration? Sounds like he's more suited for making low budget sci-fi movies. Seriously, this kind of tech is so far beyond our capabilities it doesn't even pay to bring it up in a serious conversation.

Sure it does. Let's say that cryo-stasis ships (which might become feasible soon due to shashimi technology) or Generation Ships are fundamentally flawed (for whatever reason) but that 3d printing people or using wormholes could be feasible some day.

Then there's no point in doing research on the dead ends so we should stop all spending on them. I don't think this guy has proven that point, but if it could be proven then it would be worth listening. It's better to not do anything than to waste scarce resources.

paradise lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121353)

The Rib he formd and fashond with his hands; /
Under his forming hands a Creature grew,

On other planets (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 3 months ago | (#47121355)

3D printers print you!

Hmmm ... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47121371)

So, start with the magic, then?

I wonder how we go about printing humans on other planets or using wormholes.

Why, if only we had unlimited, non-existent technology, we could do practically anything.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 3 months ago | (#47121621)

Yes! There's the solution: The wormhole printer! Just add a wormhole to the print head and you can print on other planets. Why did nobody else think of that? Jeez!

Embryo (2)

Stellian (673475) | about 3 months ago | (#47121373)

You don't have to print humans, just synthesize a memorized genome and throw it into an artificial womb. Done to death in SciFi literature and certainly within the means of 21th century technology. It's certainly interesting if a human raised entirely by a computer can really qualify as human.

And why do it ? Just to spread the human disease in the universe ? Why not simply send the artificial intelligence that is necessary anyway to make such a mission a success ?

Re:Embryo (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47121451)

Who's going to raise the thing? Human babies (even in adult bodies) aren't exactly lean, mean surviving machines.

Re:Embryo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121625)

You know, as much time as my kids try to be on tablets everyday, these kids could "interact" with their ancestors on computers and learn a ton about who we are and why we sent them.

Test project: (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | about 3 months ago | (#47121381)

Print me up a Scarlett Johansson

Re:Test project: (1)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 3 months ago | (#47121459)

It might not stand up to the rigors of use.

Re:Test project: (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 months ago | (#47121505)

Why bother? Even the printed one won't date you.

YOU FAIL IT (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 months ago | (#47121711)

Computer - Portman, Natalie, naked and petrified, covered in hot grits

Just steer clear of those Sirus Cybernetics 3D printers. OMG.

Just like The Other Limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121407)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Like_a_Dinosaur_(The_Outer_Limits)

Re:Just like The Other Limits (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47121713)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Like_a_Dinosaur_(The_Outer_Limits) [wikipedia.org]

Just QFT since many folks severely downscore AC. The moral issue there is the one that Trek skirts with its analog process - whether digital copy-and-delete is equivalent to move, when considering lifeforms.

Paper Jam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121469)

I'm not sure how sending the "ink" and robots able to install the "printers" would be a better idea than just sending good old humans

Pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121527)

I think we should print another Earth nearby just before we finally destroy this one. We can all hop over to it, then unprint the original.

Prior Art (1)

androidph (3631653) | about 3 months ago | (#47121541)

I had the same exact idea, before the 3G/LTE and highspeed internet, I thought of sending humans via GPRS, but the poor connection might be a problem in actual production. But I was dissapointed to learn that somebody already thought of it but by sending copies of himself via Fax. Unfortunately, I could not find that link.

Movie potential (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 3 months ago | (#47121547)

Now I'm picturing a Russel Crowe hologram waiting for the dot matrix shriek to finish before instructing the newly minted Last Son of Earth on our species' survival.

The end (5, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | about 3 months ago | (#47121573)

I can just see it. A billion years from now, on a planet a trillion miles away, the last remaining message from the human race will be displayed in black pixelated letters on a small rectangular display: PC LOAD LETTER.

Re:The end (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47121661)

Genius. In many ways, better than The Last Question.

Grow, not print. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121589)

Build seeding ships.

Literally a factory line of them, printing out ships and implanting them with seeding material.
Point them at any possible life-harboring planet. Or planets that could or may support life by the time it arrives.
Have an AI on board that could determine if the planet is capable of supporting humans, or life in general.
If yes, seed it. If not, leave the ship in orbit as a communication beacon to possible future species.
That also means having an extremely basic bridging language that any reasonably intelligent species would be able to interpret given they are now in space. (let's face it, the requirements to get to space require a very certain number of skills, which will have almost certainly came to fruition and/or evolved)
Just imagine, millions of humans all sat orbiting possibly dead planets, or living planets. They might outlive the entire human race in any form.

Equally if we are speaking so many decades in the future, we might even have the ability to create nanomachines.
We could possibly throw a couple trillion of them on board and actually terraform a dead-ish planet that could support life given the right pushes.
Nanobots infect the planet, they start finding resources they could use to build more of themselves, they replicate.
Then they begin building machines that would create a fusion reactor, use fusion reactor to generate the element ratios that work on our planet as well as power some huge greenhouse effect, or the opposite, to make the planet more stable. These might even be a permanent requirement depending on the planets location, might be too hot where it is, cool it using some cloud generators, bam.
But that just gets messy. So many details you'd need to consider.
One mistake and you could wipe out a whole species because an AI had a blindspot due to our limited knowledge.

Re:Grow, not print. (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 3 months ago | (#47121683)

Replicators or Borg are a bad idea IMO...if Sci-Fi has proved one thing, it is this.

Holy shit a spacenutter's dream! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121595)

3d printing and space flight.

Also, why do you all assume that this exact idea is not where humans on earth came from?

Would explain the missing links in evolution.

Ink (1)

tompatman (936656) | about 3 months ago | (#47121607)

I'd hate to be the one who has to change the ink on that printer.

Probably possible (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 3 months ago | (#47121615)

I don't know if printing is the right word. I think making test tube babies that are then raised by some kind of AI to be more or less human might be the closest we get. There is still a lot of technology that we need for that (artificial womb, an AI that would simulate some kind of social interaction) .

Most people would not go on a journey if they knew they had to spend the rest of their lives and next 500 generations' lives on that same journey.

I have posted this before: http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Probably possible (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 3 months ago | (#47121665)

That would be Vernor Vinge's science fiction short story ``Long Shot'':

http://books.google.com/books?... [google.com]

what is the point? (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | about 3 months ago | (#47121619)

When the universe reaches maximal entropy everything will be dead. Humans, aliens, stars, everything. Admittedly this will not happen for a very long time but it does seem to be inevitable.

A lot of bits (2, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | about 3 months ago | (#47121641)

How many bits would it take to describe a human at a molecular level?

Re:A lot of bits (1)

dbarron (286) | about 3 months ago | (#47121731)

I think you might be surprised how compressible the pattern might be. There's a lot of duplication in them there waters.

Re:A lot of bits (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 3 months ago | (#47121823)

I can't remember the actual reference but someone figured out just the coordinate data to describe a grain of salt and it was HUGE.....

Re:A lot of bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121785)

I think we should rather ask the question: how much is that in Library of Congress?

Re:A lot of bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121813)

42

A lot of bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121819)

Some of us could probably make do with around 1000

Why does that sound familiar? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 3 months ago | (#47121645)

Yes, I have read The Songs of Distant Earth [wikipedia.org] too.

Pirate Bay Physibles... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 3 months ago | (#47121655)

I can think of some people I'd like to download, and after printing, upload.

Separate Launch methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121671)

per "How to colonize the galaxy in 8 easy steps."
What you need is two separate launch tracts. The way we launch now is a gentle acceleration until we have the height and momentum to go into free fall around the planet. This is necessary due to the fragility of our body's, passing the 9 to 12 G range things get biologically catastrophic pretty quickly.
For hardware and materials it's a completely different story. For the most part they can be designed or packaged to handle the G stress of a curve up a mountain at high speed allowing launch in to space by velocity gained on a non vertical trajectory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_sled_launch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-rocket_spacelaunch

Honestly? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 3 months ago | (#47121677)

This is the best idea the lead engineer on the NASA JPL's Curiosity rover mission could come up with? Find worm holes or send 3D printers to other planets. Ugh.

Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys (3, Interesting)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about 3 months ago | (#47121681)

Old story from way back; a building has been found on the moon that contains a machine that kills people in many different ways throughout the strange building but always consistently. Almost like a mouse in a maze, the scientists figure out that if they can get through this death trap and map each method of death along the way they should be able to get further each time and eventually manage to travel out the other side. Of course it could take many lives to accomplish this so they devise a method of teleporting a copy of someone from the earth to the moon and taking a "backup" copy that shares memories with their counterpart so that when that doppelganger dies there is still a version left alive earth-side.

The only problem is that the sheer horror of each death causes the surviving copy to be driven insane, the human mind just not able to cope, that is until they find the reckless Al Barker who's courted death all his life. It's only then that the research makes any headway.

Must balance the equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47121689)

But...we must think like a dinosaur and balance the equation!

Fucking idiot (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#47121717)

n/c

With my luck (4, Funny)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 3 months ago | (#47121721)

the cartridge would run out when it prints my wienus.

If we're rethinking human (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#47121781)

Why not rethink the organic part too?

Adam Steltzner (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47121863)

I guess Mr. Steltzner just saw The Fifth Element [imdb.com] recently.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>