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A 500-year plan for humans beyond Earth

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Learn about a 500-year program that would engineer the genome so that humans can tolerate the extreme environments of outer space

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New Scientist presents ...

Online Event: A 500-year plan for humans beyond Earth

Big Thinkers Series (Series tickets available)

The new Big Thinker series from New Scientist events features ten online evening lectures throughout 2021, covering everything from end of ageing to extraterrestrial life and quantum computing to AI, all brought to you by world-class scientists and experts.

Save £50 off the standard ticket price by purchasing an annual subscription to all 10 live online “Big Thinker” lectures (also available on-demand) or purchase single tickets for just £13 per lecture (early booking rate), to hear from the finest minds in science in 2021.

Christopher Mason, Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine

While Earth will eventually come to an end, life on Earth does not need to meet the same fate. To avoid extinction, we will have to find a new home planet, and then a new solar system, to inhabit. As they are today, our frail human bodies could never survive travel to another habitable planet.

In this talk, Christopher Mason details a 500-year programme that would engineer the genome so that humans can tolerate the extreme environments of outer space—with the ultimate goal of achieving human settlement of new solar systems. Indeed, argues Mason, we have a moral duty to engineer life to reach new worlds since we are the only species aware of extinction.

Christopher's book: The Next 500 Years : Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds (MIT press) is published in April 2021.

What's included in your ticket:

  • Live lecture lasting 60 minutes including Q&A with Christopher Mason
  • On-demand access to a recording of the lecture and Q&A for 12 months
  • Bonus content from New Scientist

About the speaker:

Christopher Mason is a geneticist and computational biologist who has been a principal investigator and co-investigator of seven NASA missions. He was the head geneticist for the NASA twin study which saw Scott Kelly go into space for a year while his identical twin Mark Kelly stayed on Earth. This unique study told us a lot about the effects being in space have on the body. Mason still takes blood samples from Scott Kelly every 3 months and is continuing to keep an eye on his genome. He is Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction and holds several affiliate appointments. He is author of over 250 peer-reviewed papers and his book: The Next 500 Years : Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds (MIT press) is published in April 2021

Audience information:

This event is suitable for anyone with an interest in the subjects under discussion or a more general scientific interest. However if you are attending the event in a professional capacity you may be interested to know that this event is accredited by the CPD Certification Service and CPD certificates are available to attendees on request by contacting live@newscientist.com.

Booking information:

This online event will start at 18.00 BST/13:00EDT on Thursday 15th July 2021 and will last for approximately one hour. Access to a recording of the event will be exclusively available to ticket purchasers for the 12 months following the live event. The on-demand recording will be available to view within 24 hours of the live discussion.
Eventbrite will email you a confirmation immediately after purchase. You will receive a separate email with a link to access the event auditorium prior to the event; please note that each link is unique and should not be shared. The event auditorium will also provide access to the other items included in your ticket.
Tickets are non-transferable to any other New Scientist event.
All tickets are non-refundable.
New Scientist reserves the right to alter the event and its line-up, or cancel the event. In the unlikely event of cancellation, all tickets will be fully refunded. New Scientist Ltd will not be liable for any additional expenses incurred by ticket holders in relation to the event.
Tickets are subject to availability and are only available in advance through Eventbrite. To secure your place we recommend you book in advance.
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