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Hi Kyle.  This is a unique question.  I would guess as technology develops, artificial gravity will supplement development of new babies' bones in space.  Also I remember seeing videos of astronauts wearing weights will exercising in International Space Station.  What do you think?  Does that answer your question?  If not please tell me so I can do some more research.  Okay?

Matt/Ishka

Yes!!! Thats awesome!!! Thank you sir!!!

Hey Gina, 

I have a rather small question. I am a Computational Biologist from India. I plan to work on the use of probiotics in space. As in which one would the best for astronauts. So, for that a series of experiments are to be designed for simulating the space like environment where i can test the probiotics. The question is, will this work be considered as a work in astrobiology ? Or astrobiology strictly confines to the study of extremophiles that can survive beyond the atmosphere of earth ? If the answer is yes, then I would pitch in some more questions related to it. 

Hi Arinjoy,

I think it depends on what space agency you go to in order to fly your experiment. I can speak only about how it works for NASA. What is considered astrobiology research in the United States focuses on life's potential to emerge in, adapt to, cope with, and interact with natural (planetary) environments. The research you're suggesting would be considered instead Space Biology. In the US, this is more the human spaceflight side of NASA (rather than the fundamental science side that manages astrobiology research). You can find the description of this program here.

Best,

Marc

Hi Datta.  I think that is a very interesting question.  I say you should just develop the idea and let the classification be determined by your peers later on.

That's all that comes to mind now,

Matt/Ishka

any astrobio clubs in india?

Rajat,

There is indeed a growing astrobiology community in India. it's very exciting. I would recommend visiting these people: http://astrobiologyindia.in/. They may be able to connect you with professional organizations. Do you want to become an astrobiologist, or are you already working in the field and want to meet colleagues?

Amity University has a brand new Center for Excellence in Astrobiology. This guy is the director:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/siddharthpandey24/

You can also check out this group:

http://www.iarc.res.in/

Gina

Hello All,

I was wondering what everyone thought about building skyscrapers under water?  Its like a ice cube in water.   The volume of water taken out of the ocean should equal the volume of structure being put in.  Does weight in kg matter?  Meaning if you have two structures or skyscrapers one much heavier than the other, would you still extract the same volume for both?  Just wondering and racking my brain over this.

Matt/Ishka

Hi Matt!

That's an interesting question. One thing you could do to see an answer would be to take a small fish tank and then measure the volumes of water displaced by some different objects. You should see that the displaced volume is independent of the mass of the object doing the displacing. (However, due to Archimedes Principle, the object with less mass also has more buoyant force pushing it back up out of the water! - This is why tanker ships have to be built to rise up and down in the water depending on how much cargo they have onboard).

Thanks for the info.  I never heard of buoyancy principle before.  I will file that away in my archive of ideas.  I also plan on trying out the experiment.

For living underwater, maybe we can affect the gene expression of humans so they can transform into mermaids underwater and transform back into humans when they go out of the water like the Little Mermaid.  Or what about Water World where the male protagonist had gills and webbed feet.  I know that may sound far fetched but genes are a language and if we master it, anything is possible.

Thanks,

Matt/Ishka

Yeah, there's a lot of unknown potential in genetic engineering. Though much of it seems far-fetched or far-off in the future, we're on the cusp of learning a lot more about how to control phenotypic expression, so who knows what may be possible in 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years.

In the meantime, there are groups who are looking into moving humans into underwater colonies. Atlantica and the Seasteading Institute are both working in that realm. 

Matthew,

It seems unlikely that we could genetically engineer human beings to change between mermaid form and human form. Gene expression can change based on circumstances, yes, but the genes would have to be there to begin with in order for a change in expression to reveal anything. Further, genetically engineering humans with that level of sophistication is likely out of reach for us, at least within our lifetimes. The CRISPR baby fiasco demonstrates just how little we really know and how many ethical challenges have not been worked out. Lastly, even if we could do all of that, a change as significant as growing a tail and gills and then going back to legs, etc would be too difficult for the body given the metabolic resources that would be required to grow, lose, and regrow whole organs on an as-needed basis. It might make more sense for there to be one body type that is adapted to multiple environments. I do agree that genes are a language, and that mastering said language opens up many possibilities. I'm not sure this exact scenario you are describing is one of them, but perhaps once we work out the ethical quandaries of studying such drastic, intentional changes to human physiology, we will be able to do many things to help ourselves live our best lives.

Thanks for being in our community!

Gina

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