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人类会怎样进化去适应太空的环境 – 译学馆
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人类会怎样进化去适应太空的环境

How humans could evolve to survive in space | Lisa Nip

就在地球本身
So there are lands few and far between on Earth itself
只存在着少量的 需要通过各种手段 才能适宜人类居住的环境
that are hospitable to humans by any measure,
但是我们生存了下来
but survive we have.
当我们的祖先发现他们的居住环境 越来越恶劣的时候
Our primitive ancestors, when they found their homes and livelihood endangered,
他们鼓起勇气来到他们不熟悉的陌生环境
they dared to make their way into unfamiliar territories
去寻找更宜居的地方
in search of better opportunities.
作为这些探索者的后代
And as the descendants of these explorers,
我们血液中流淌着他们无畏的血统
we have their nomadic blood coursing through our own veins.
可是与此同时
But at the same time,
我们为食物和享乐而分心
distracted by our bread and circuses
我们被卷入战争 手足相残
and embroiled in the wars that we have waged on each other,
我们好像忘记了我们热衷探索的本性
it seems that we have forgotten this desire to explore.
作为人类 我们进化的方式独一无二
We, as a species, we’re evolved uniquely
为了地球上(的物质) 在地球上(生存) 被地球进化着
for Earth, on Earth, and by Earth,
我们对自己的居住环境非常满意
and so content are we with our living conditions
我们开始变得自满了 然后
that we have grown complacent and just too busy
以至于忘记了我们的资源是有限的
to notice that its resources are finite,
太阳的寿命也是有限的
and that our Sun’s life is also finite.
当出现火星本身和所有以它为主题的电影的时候
While Mars and all the movies made in its name
这重新燃起了人类对于探索星际旅行的灵魂
have reinvigorated the ethos for space travel,
我们当中有很少一部分人意识到 我们人类弱小的本质
few of us seem to truly realize that our species’ fragile constitution
不幸的是 这无法支撑我们做长时间的星际旅行
is woefully unprepared for long duration journeys into space.
让我们到附近的国家森林公园中走一走
Let us take a trek to your local national forest
来看一下真实的情况
for a quick reality check.
那么我先来问几个问题:
So just a quick show of hands here:
多少人认为自己可以在这样的 完全野生的环境下
how many of you think you would be able to survive in this lush wilderness
生存几天?
for a few days?
哇 很多人这么有自信呢
Well, that’s a lot of you.
那几周呢?
How about a few weeks?
还是有不少人嘛
That’s a decent amount.
那几个月呢?
How about a few months?
还不错 有很多人
That’s pretty good too.
那么 现在让我们再来想象一下 我们在这个国家森林公园里
Now, let us imagine that this local national forest
经历着漫长的冬季
experiences an eternal winter.
同样的问题:多少人认为你可以在 这样的环境下生存上几天?
Same questions: how many of you think you would be able to survive for a few days?
还是有不少人嘛
That’s quite a lot.
那么几周呢?
How about a few weeks?
我们做一个有趣的改变 我们来想象下 在这个环境中你只能从
So for a fun twist, let us imagine that the only source of water available
几英里下的地下冰层中获得水资源
is trapped as frozen blocks miles below the surface.
土壤里几乎没有营养物质 自然也就找不到什么果蔬
Soil nutrients are so minimal that no vegetation can be found,
当然大气层也就近乎不存在
and of course hardly any atmosphere exists to speak of.
这些仅仅是我们来到像火星 这样的星球上后
Such examples are only a few of the many challenges we would face
所要面临的挑战中的几个
on a planet like Mars.
那么我们应当做什么去坚定 自己的信心去到一个
So how do we steel ourselves for voyages whose destinations are so far removed
比起热带小岛差如此多的目的地呢
from a tropical vacation?
难道我们要不断的从地球上运输资源吗?
Will we continuously ship supplies from Planet Earth?
建造太空升降舱 或者是难以实现的巨长的传输带
Build space elevators, or impossible miles of transport belts
连接着地球和你所选择的未来根据地?
that tether your planet of choice to our home planet?
我们怎样能像在地球一样 在那里种出我们的食物?
And how do we grow things like food that grew up on Earth like us?
其实我有些超前
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
在我们寻找新太阳系下的新家的旅程中
In our species’ journey to find a new home under a new sun,
我们很有可能会在这个旅程
we are more likely than not going to be spending much time
花费很长的时间
in the journey itself,
在太空中
in space,
在向密封的飞行罐头一样的飞船里
on a ship, a hermetic flying can,
很有可能要度过几十年 几代更迭
possibly for many generations.
人类在太空中度过的最长的时间
The longest continuous amount of time that any human has spent in space
是差不多12到14个月
is in the vicinity of 12 to 14 months.
从宇航员们对于太空飞行的回忆里
From astronauts’ experiences in space,
我们了解到 长时间呆在微重力的环境中
we know that spending time in a microgravity environment
会使人丧失骨密度 肌肉萎缩 引发心血管的问题
means bone loss, muscle atrophy, cardiovascular problems,
还有很多其他的问题
among many other complications
这些问题有生理的 也有心理的
that range for the physiological to the psychological.
如果我们找到的新家有着
And what about macrogravity,
超重力和重力不均的情况
or any other variation in gravitational pull
我们的情况又会怎样呢
of the planet that we find ourselves on?
简而言之 我们的星际旅行 将会面临各种危险
In short, our cosmic voyages will be fraught with dangers
包括已知的和未知的
both known and unknown.
目前我们已经将问题 转向新的工程学发明
So far we’ve been looking to this new piece of mechanical technology
或者是下一代新型机器人
or that great next generation robot
用这些来确保我们人类 可以平安的度过这段旅程
as part of a lineup to ensure our species safe passage in space.
尽管这些想法非常棒 我还是相信
Wonderful as they are, I believe the time has come
我们可以用大自然已经创造出来的
for us to complement these bulky electronic giants
去补足那些笨重的机器
with what nature has already invented:
微生物
the microbe,
一个单细胞的 自生自养的
a single-celled organism that is itself a self-generating, self-replenishing,
活着的机器
living machine.
不需要提供给它们什么
It requires fairly little to maintain,
又有大范围的想象空间去设计它们
offers much flexibility in design
并且我们只需要一个简单的塑料盒去运输它们
and only asks to be carried in a single plastic tube.
更多关于这方面的知识让我们可以 更好的了解微生物 更好地利用它们
The field of study that has enabled us to utilize the capabilities of the microbe
这个领域叫做合成生物学
is known as synthetic biology.
这个领域是微生物学的分支 微生物学就是那个带给我们抗生素 疫苗
It comes from molecular biology, which has given us antibiotics, vaccines
还有更好的方式来观察人类身体的生理方面
and better ways to observe the physiological nuances
的细微差别
of the human body.
应用合成生物学的方法
Using the tools of synthetic biology,
我们几乎可以编辑所有生物的基因
we can now edit the genes of nearly any organism,
微生物或非微生物
microscopic or not,
非常快速并精准
with incredible speed and fidelity.
相比较人造机器带来的局限性
Given the limitations of our man-made machines,
合成生物学不仅仅带给我们设计
synthetic biology will be a means for us to engineer not only our food,
食物 燃料和环境的方法
our fuel and our environment,
也包括设计我们自身
but also ourselves
让我们完善个体的不足
to compensate for our physical inadequacies
并确保我们能在太空中生存
and to ensure our survival in space.
让我举一个
To give you an example
关于我们如何应用合成生物技术到 探索宇宙的例子
of how we can use synthetic biology for space exploration,
让我们重新回到火星的环境中
let us return to the Mars environment.
火星的土壤和夏威夷火山灰的组成类似
The Martian soil composition is similar to that of Hawaiian volcanic ash,
它们都有微量的有机物组成
with trace amounts of organic material.
所以不如我们假设一下
Let’s say, hypothetically,
如果火星的土壤不需要应用 地球衍生的营养物质
what if martian soil could actually support plant growth
就可以支持植物生长会怎样呢?
without using Earth-derived nutrients?
我们应该问的第一个问题是
The first question we should probably ask is,
我们怎么能让我们的植物忍受寒冷?
how would we make our plants cold-tolerant?
原因是 火星上的平均温度
Because, on average, the temperature on Mars
是非常难以忍受的零下60摄氏度
is a very uninviting negative 60 degrees centigrade.
下一个问题是
The next question we should ask is,
我们怎么能让我们的植物忍受干旱?
how do we make our plants drought-tolerant?
因为大多数的水都以霜的形式存在
Considering that most of the water that forms as frost
蒸发的速度甚至快过于 我说出“蒸发”这个词
evaporates more quickly than I can say the word “evaporate.”
其实 我们已经做到以上的这些要求了
Well, it turns out we’ve already done things like this.
向鱼借用了他们抗冻的基因
By borrowing genes for anti-freeze protein from fish
向水稻借用了他们抗旱的基因
and genes for drought tolerance from other plants like rice
并把这些基因片段编辑到 我们需要的植物上
and then stitching them into the plants that need them,
我们现在拥有了抗旱抗冻的的植物
we now have plants that can tolerate most droughts and freezes.
在地球上它们被称为GMO
They’re known on Earth as GMOs,
或转基因生物
or genetically modified organisms,
我们已经用它们来补给人类的需求
and we rely on them to feed all the mouths of human civilization.
大自然已经在没有我们的帮助下
Nature does stuff like this already,
做出了这样的作品
without our help.
我们仅仅是找到了更好的方法去使用它们
We have simply found more precise ways to do it.
那么为什么我们要为了探索宇宙 去改变植物的基因组成呢?
So why would we want to change the genetic makeup of plants for space?
是这样的 如果我们不这样做的话 我们就需要
Well, to not do so would mean needing to engineer
在一个新星球上建出几英亩的农田
endless acres of land on an entirely new planet
这需要上亿加仑的大气层气体
by releasing trillions of gallons of atmospheric gasses
不光如此 我们还需要一个巨大的玻璃圆顶 去覆盖这片农田
and then constructing a giant glass dome to contain it all.
这是一个不现实的工程计划
It’s an unrealistic engineering enterprise
也很容易演变成高代价的运输任务
that quickly becomes a high-cost cargo transport mission.
确保我们拥有足够的
One of the best ways to ensure
食物和空气供给的最佳方案之一
that we will have the food supplies and the air that we need
就是带着转基因生物和我们一起
is to bring with us organisms that have been engineered
去适应崭新并艰苦的环境
to adapt to new and harsh environments.
实质上 在短期和长期中转基因生物都可以帮助我们
In essence, using engineered organisms to help us terraform a planet
去使一个星球地球化
both in the short and long term.
转基因植物同样可以帮助我们 制造药品和燃料
These organisms can then also be engineered to make medicine or fuel.
所以我们可以带着高度转基因化的植物 和我们一起
So we can use synthetic biology to bring highly engineered plants with us,
但是我们还能做什么呢?
but what else can we do?
我已经在之前的演讲中提到了 人类 作为一个族群
Well, I mentioned earlier that we, as a species,
在地球上一种奇特的方式进化着
were evolved uniquely for planet Earth.
这个并没有在你们坐在这里
That fact has not changed much in the last five minutes
的五分钟内有什么变化吧
that you were sitting here and I was standing there.
既然如此,如果要让我们在此时 甩掉我们其中的几个 把他们留在火星上
And so, if we were to dump any of us on Mars right this minute,
给他们充足的食物 水和空气
even given ample food, water, air
还用一身宇航服
and a suit,
我们还是会因为地表辐射出的离子射线
we are likely to experience very unpleasant health problems
面临很不舒服的健康问题
from the amount of ionizing radiation that bombards the surface
因为像火星这样的星球几近没有大气层
of planets like Mars that have little or nonexistent atmosphere.
除非我们计划在来到每个新星球时
Unless we plan to stay holed up underground
躲在地下
for the duration of our stay on every new planet,
我们必须要找到更好的方式来保护自己
we must find better ways of protecting ourselves
甚至不需要求助于
without needing to resort to wearing a suit of armor
和我们自身一样重的宇航服
that weighs something equal to your own body weight,
或者躲在一墙铅的后面
or needing to hide behind a wall of lead.
让我们来到大自然来寻求灵感
So let us appeal to nature for inspiration.
在地球上这些丰富多彩的生物里
Among the plethora of life here on Earth,
存在着一个小团体叫做极端微生物
there’s a subset of organisms known as extremophiles,
如果你们记得高中的生物课
or lovers of extreme living conditions,
你应该知道他们还叫做极端环境爱好者
if you’ll remember from high school biology.
在这些神奇的生物中还存在着 耐辐射奇球菌
And among these organisms is a bacterium by the name of Deinococcus radiodurans.
它因其耐寒 耐旱 耐真空 耐酸而著名
It is known to be able to withstand cold, dehydration, vacuum, acid,
更重要的是 它还耐辐射
and, most notably, radiation.
尽管我们了解到它的耐辐射功能
While its radiation tolerance mechanisms are known,
现在的我们还不能将相关基因 作用在哺乳动物身上
we have yet to adapt the relevant genes to mammals.
想做到这个非常困难
To do so is not particularly easy.
我们真正能接触到抗辐射基因需要 突破重重难关
There are many facets that go into its radiation tolerance,
并且也不仅仅是转移一种基因
and it’s not as simple as transferring one gene.
但是考虑到人类的创新能力
But given a little bit of human ingenuity
再加上一点点时间
and a little bit of time,
我认为达成目标也并不是很难
I think to do so is not very hard either.
尽管我们只是借用他耐辐射性能 中的一小部分
Even if we borrow just a fraction of its ability to tolerate radiation,
那也要比我们现在拥有的
it would be infinitely better than what we already have,
皮肤中的黑色素好很多倍
which is just the melanin in our skin.
运用基因重组科技
Using the tools of synthetic biology,
我们可以驾驭耐辐射奇球菌的 耐辐射性能
we can harness Deinococcus radiodurans’ ability
进而可以在拥有致命辐射的 环境下生存繁衍
to thrive under otherwise very lethal doses of radiation.
尽管很难发现
As difficult as it is to see,
智人 也就是现在的人类
homo sapiens, that is humans,
每天都在进化
evolves every day,
并且一直持续地在进化
and still continues to evolve.
几千年来人类的进化
Thousands of years of human evolution
不光带给我们人类
has not only given us humans like Tibetans,
像西藏人一样在低氧的 条件下生存的能力
who can thrive in low-oxygen conditions,
还有向阿根廷一样消化并新陈代谢
but also Argentinians, who can ingest and metabolize arsenic,
砷这种对于正常人类致命的 化学物质
the chemical element that can kill the average human being.
每天 人类的身体都因为 意外的变化而进化着
Every day, the human body evolves by accidental mutations
也以同样几率让一部分人
that equally accidentally allow certain humans
在不适宜的环境中生存下来
to persevere in dismal situations.
但是 这是一个很重要的但是
But, and this is a big but,
这种进化需要两种不常见的因素
such evolution requires two things that we may not always have,
或者可以说是承受不起的因素
or be able to afford,
那就是死亡和时间
and they are death and time.
在我们的种族挣扎着想要在宇宙中 找到一片栖息之地的过程中
In our species’ struggle to find our place in the universe,
我们等不起自然进化带给我们
we may not always have the time necessary
更强大的能力
for the natural evolution of extra functions
去生存在另一个星球上
for survival on non-Earth planets.
我们生存在被E.O.威尔逊称为 基因规避的时代
We’re living in what E.O. Wilson has termed the age of gene circumvention,
如今我们可以改变基因上的瑕疵比如囊胞性纤维症或肌肉萎缩症
during which we remedy our genetic defects like cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy
用一种暂时性外界供给
with temporary external supplements.
一天天过去
But with every passing day,
我们到达了有意识进化的时期
we approach the age of volitional evolution,
在这个时期 我们作为一个种族
a time during which we as a species
将拥有能力去决定我们自身的能力 和先天的命运
will have the capacity to decide for ourselves our own genetic destiny.
用新技术去操作人体的各个组成
Augmenting the human body with new abilities
将不再是一个“怎样去做”的问题
is no longer a question of how,
而将变成“何时去做”
but of when.
运用基因重组科技
Using synthetic biology
去改变每一个生物体的基因组成
to change the genetic makeup of any living organisms,
特别是针对我们人体本身
especially our own,
不是没有道德或伦理的问题
is not without its moral and ethical quandaries.
难道改善我们自己会让我们变得不是人类吗?
Will engineering ourselves make us less human?
但是再说了 人类是什么?
But then again, what is humanity
不过就是碰巧有自主意识的宇宙组成
but star stuff that happens to be conscious?
人类的天赋又会引领人类到哪里呢?
Where should human genius direct itself?
只在这为一项项科技进步而惊叹 但并不作出实际改变肯定是一种浪费
Surely it is a bit of a waste to sit back and marvel at it.
我们该怎样运用我们的智慧
How do we use our knowledge
用来保护我们自己规避外在的危险?
to protect ourselves from the external dangers
然后又避免自身因素对自己造成的伤害?
and then protect ourselves from ourselves?
我提出这些疑问
I pose these questions
并不是让大家生出对科学的恐惧
not to engender the fear of science
却是想让更多人了解
but to bring to light the many possibilities
科学已经给我们带来并会持续给我们带来的更多的可能性
that science has afforded and continues to afford us.
我们应该作为人类联合起来 去讨论并应用那些解决方案
We must coalesce as humans to discuss and embrace the solutions
并不仅仅需要小心
not only with caution
还需要勇气
but also with courage.
火星是我们的一个目的地
Mars is a destination,
但这并不会是我们最后一个目的地
but it will not be our last.
我们的最终的疆界将是我们跨出
Our true final frontier is the line we must cross
决定我们能做什么和 如何使用我们种族无与伦比的智慧
in deciding what we can and should make of our species’ improbable intelligence.
太空是冷酷的 残忍的 毫不留情的
Space is cold, brutal and unforgiving.
我们通向其他星球的道路 将充满考验
Our path to the stars will be rife with trials
这将带给我们新的问题 不但要知道“我们是谁”
that will bring us to question not only who we are
还要知道“我们的终点在哪里”
but where we will be going.
答案就在我们的选择中 我们是会使用还是会放弃
The answers will lie in our choice to use or abandon the technology
这项从生命本身拾起的科技
that we have gleaned from life itself,
它也会决定我们在这宇宙中的生存期限
and it will define us for the remainder of our term in this universe.
谢谢
Thank you.
(掌声)
(Applause)

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TED专业解读,人类是如何进化去适应太空的环境的~~

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