When Will We Build the Starship Enterprise? | Seth Shostak

What if we could send humans anywhere at the speed of light, and at a rock-bottom price?

That’s eminently feasible if we send the information and not the protoplasm. No crew, just code.

Consider: The human genome consists of about 3.3 billion base pairs. Since there are only four types of pair, that amounts to 0.8 gigabytes of information, or about what you can fit on a CD. With a microwave radio transmitter, you could beam that amount of information into space in a few minutes, and have it travel to anyone at light speed.


via When Will We Build the Starship Enterprise? | Seth Shostak.

Seth Shostak has an interesting post on HuffPost, pointing out that we don’t actually need to travel to the stars, just beam our genome there and count on aliens at the other end to build a copy of us on that end.  It’s an interesting piece, but my reaction is, why stop at the genome?  If there is a civilization on the other end that can instantiate the human body, then it could probably instantiate a connectome; a recorded mind.

Of course, while we know the genome can make a copy of us, sans life experiences, we’re not sure yet about the connectome being an accurate copy of the mind.  But we also don’t know yet that there’s anyone at the other end, so why not dream big?

2 thoughts on “When Will We Build the Starship Enterprise? | Seth Shostak

  1. I never understood the point of sending our DNA to the stars. To me, the point of travel is seeing these places for myself (even if it’s second-hand on a TV screen). Sending DNA or a one way probe or any other measure that won’t give me the experience of the place is the same as not going.


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