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Tabula Rasa Promotion To Send Gamers' DNA to Space

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-in-case dept.

Space 90

Bridger tips news that NCSoft's Tabula Rasa, created in part by Richard Garriott, is running an unusual promotion right now. Garriott is going to the International Space Station on October 12th, and he'll take with him a digital record of the DNA of various players and celebrities. The basic plot of Tabula Rasa is that Earth was attacked and humans almost completely wiped out. Garriott's promotion is playing on that idea; the hard drive with the DNA data will be left in orbit "just in case" something happens to humanity on Earth. NCSoft has been running a variety of polls and contests to include further data about humans on the hard drive. The deadline for joining the project has recently been extended to September 29th.

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90 comments

They shouldnt be sending DNA (5, Funny)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909653)

They should send every last copy of the game into orbit and leave it there.

Re:They shouldnt be sending DNA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909713)

Are you nuts? Then if something happens the game survives!

I say we keep it here just in case. No wait...

Re:They shouldnt be sending DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909945)

Couldn't agree more.

I was so anticipating this title before it came out, I won it at a game convention, got home, installed, sat there in disbelief as it sucked more than a Hoover.

There's no way Garriott can come back from TR, least of all by running gimmicky contest.

Re:They shouldnt be sending DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911073)

And then nuke it from Earth just to be sure.

HOW'S THAT FOR A PLOT TWIST, EH GARRIOT?

Re:They shouldnt be sending DNA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911259)

Let's just pray that they don't send any NIGGER DNA up there... Imagine if the Earth is somehow destroyed and the only DNA left for aliens to find is that of the feral nigger beast...

They'll wonder how such a chimp-like creature could ever have managed to get their DNA into space...

Of course - they DIDN'T, did they... Because if blacks were the ONLY race on Earth, there wouldn't BE any space travel, would there?

Anybody care to prove me wrong? I could do with a laugh...

("We're all the same" "We're all the same" the brainwashed lemmings start to cry...)

Re:They shouldnt be sending DNA (1)

CautionaryX (1061226) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911655)

You forgot your GNAA plug and your goatse link.

Richard Garriott (0)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909663)

If anyone deserves a trip to the ISS, I guess the creator of the best RPG of all time (Ultima IV) probably does.

I thought the DNA promotion was a little silly until I saw his name associated with it. That guy has karma to burn for several more decades as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Richard Garriott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909725)

Best RPG of all time? Don't make me laugh. Planescape: Torment was the best CRPG of all time. Everybody else (Baldur's Gate, Fallout, KOTOR, etc.) is just competing for sloppy seconds.

You are an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909971)

Planescape: Torment was the best CRPG of all time. Everybody else (Baldur's Gate, Fallout, KOTOR, etc.) is just competing for sloppy seconds.

Ultima IV was made in 1985. Comparing it to Baldur's Gate or anything else that was made in the last 10 years is laughable. Sure, Planescape Torment is one of the top 5 of all times, but Ultima IV is definitely #1.

Re:You are an idiot. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910111)

Um, no.

People don't laud Planescape: Torment because it is new or because it has fancy graphics. It isn't new and its graphics are outdated, only less so than Ultima IV. What they laud about Planescape: Torment is the computer role playing experience and the depth of story. Ultima IV can't compete with either of these aspects. The first isn't surprising because making a good RPG experience on a computer was only mastered after the end of the Gold Box games and because the Planescape multiverse is extremely well suited for fun RPG games (in contrast with the one dimensional world of Britannia). The second point is actually surprising and is most of the novelty of the game.

Ultima IV wasn't a deep game. It was a fun game, but the game plot had little more depth than solving your virtue quests to go to the final dungeon crawl so that you can become the Avatar. Planescape, on the other hand, had an extraordinarily deep plot that you had to work to decipher. The virtue quests in Ultima IV never had a tenth the depth of the fundamental question in Planescape: Torment of "what can change the nature of a man?"

Re:You are an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912391)

Ultima IV ran on a 64K Apple II, you howling goofball. Have some respect for your history.

Re:You are an idiot. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24917339)

Who gives a fuck about that? Weaker hardware does not make the game any better.

Re:Richard Garriott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911899)

is just competing for sloppy seconds.

Lol, "everything is shitty because it came after"

Re:Richard Garriott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911099)

Nethack!

Yeah right, they'll create a clone army of ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909717)

I may be a gamer, but I keep myself wrapped in plastic wrap in a negative pressure room in a sterile bubble. I don't want my DNA to go to space because of three reasons:
1) the US government is doing secret cloning experiments on the ISS and they will make a clone army of hundreds/thousands of ME
2) The space aliens will take over the ISS and they will make a clone army of hundreds/thousands of ME
3) A solar flare will hit the ISS causing the DNA to spontaneously mutate and infect the astronauts causing them have lots of space sex and they will make a clone army of hundreds/thousands of ME

TDz.

Re:Yeah right, they'll create a clone army of ME (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909837)

It's the DNA _data_ that is stored on a hard drive, not your DNA itself, so no chance to mutate. And let me bet that on top of failing to make sure they sent the thing on a non-fastly decaying orbit, failing to put it on a long lasting media, and failing to provide something to read the data on the drive and interpret it, they also failed to provide information on what to do with that sequence information. Really just a cheap (or technically not so cheap) PR stunt.

Re:Yeah right, they'll create a clone army of ME (1)

Bat Country (829565) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912501)

Extremely cheap: he was going anyway, now he's just going with a great PR stunt in his carry-on.

Re:Yeah right, they'll create a clone army of ME (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911531)

You left out the lazy bloated gamers of self smuggness army stereotype.

Ouch. (3, Funny)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909721)

Imagine that - a world populated solely by celebrities and hardcore gamers. A superior race of shallow procrastinators.

False DNA Assumptions (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909847)

While DNA can be used like a fingerprint to identify someone, I don't think it has ever been proven to be a sufficient definition to recreate man, or any other living creature. Ok, it's just a game, so I shouldn't be so serious, but even if it were possible, why would you want a future alien scientist to recreate you? Best case scenario is they have a human version of Jurassic Park, worst case is he needs a test subject. I won! I won! Doh!

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910215)

You do realize that YOU yourself will not be negatively impacted by aliens fiddling around with your genetic code in a million years, right?

Consciousness isn't determined solely by DNA, otherwise identical twins would be perfect clones of each other, or even be capable of clairvoyance or something.

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910525)

You do realize that YOU yourself will not be negatively impacted by aliens fiddling around with your genetic code in a million years, right?

Consciousness isn't determined solely by DNA, otherwise identical twins would be perfect clones of each other, or even be capable of clairvoyance or something.

Well, then for my future identical twins... "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912729)

that's a pretty verse and all, but then aren't you implying it shouldn't make a difference who's DNA is sent up? so if someone's DNA is going to be sent to space, then why _not_ have it be yours?

besides, i don't get where you're getting your best/worst case scenarios from (Hollywood blockbusters?). who's to say that they're not going to put your DNA to benevolent uses.

perhaps humanity won't survive the next millennium. maybe some space-faring aliens will come across the DNA data and try to revive the human race using the DNA samples as the basal models. maybe they'll use our genetic material to extend or enhance their own physiology, find new cures for diseases, or simply learn more about other kinds of life.

imagine if it were us who stumbled across some preserved genetic code of a long-extinct alien species. how much of a boon to human knowledge and the science of genetics would that be?

not that these scenarios are likely to come true, but they're not any more speculative than the cynicism others have expressed.

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911961)

I don't think it has ever been proven to be a sufficient definition to recreate man, or any other living creature.

Isn't DNA, by definition enough to recreate a human (or other carbon-based life-form)?

Just because we don't know how to do it, doesn't mean that all the information isn't there - it has to be or you wouldn't have been able to exist in the first place. The only thing not included is whatever is learned from your environment, so memories are out (we think).

Re:False DNA Assumptions (2, Informative)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912443)

Isn't DNA, by definition enough to recreate a human (or other carbon-based life-form)?

Just because we don't know how to do it, doesn't mean that all the information isn't there -

Nope, DNA doesn't define Mitochondria or Mitochondrial DNA. The theory goes that you create some artificial DNA, transplant it into a Mitochondria cell, and then it starts working. Of genetic ancestry interest, is that Mitochondrial DNA is only passed mother by mother, because fathers do not pass theirs on.

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24914435)

After a bit of research - I stand corrected.
Thanks for the info. :-D

Re:False DNA Assumptions (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24914503)

If the aliens get hold of my DNA, they might be able to control me, even though my blood type isn't A+.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910283)

My version is:

Aliens are doing a recon mission, jack the ISS, grab the data, and then come back to Earth saying:

"Who is this John Lowery character? He should be scrumptious!"

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912123)

It's the last chance that game has to become popular - if a planet is repopulated post-Armageddon with his fans.

Fragile data (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909731)

DNA molecules are fragile, and hard drives even more so.
The DNA data will be shredded by cosmic rays, and even if it wasn't, how exactly would that save the human race in case of an extinction level event.

Re:Fragile data (3, Funny)

chikanamakalaka (218733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910009)

Print it out on paper.

Re:Fragile data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910251)

The way anyone else does these things when high failure rates are likely: redundancy.

Ship 50 drives with the same data in a case that resists cosmic rays (yes, we know, not very well). Whoever finds it runs a diff on each bit, and takes whichever results is the most common from the 50 drives.

In the event of an extinction-level event, there is still the minute chance that aliens see all the crap that is orbitting our world, realize that once there was life here, and take the hard drive to rebuild a person or 100 to see what we were like. Of course, all they get is hardcore gamers and celebs, so cue the jokes now.

Re:Fragile data (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910663)

Not to mention that the ISS is huge and in a fairly low orbit - without periodic boosts, it's not going to be up there long. I think I've heard 18 months, but certainly not more than a few years.

Re:Fragile data (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912133)

That's a feature, not a bug. The hard drive will be easier for the surviving humans to retrieve if it comes back to Earth on its own.

Re:Fragile data (1, Interesting)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910719)

What's more interesting to me is how they are going to obtain the DNA sequence of the gamers, that's a far from straight forward process, even the next-gen sequencers would have a tough time creating a reasonable sequence for $100,000. My guess is they are talking about mapping some common SNPs and that's it. Still I'm tempted to enter just to get a copy of my genome.

Re:Fragile data (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 5 years ago | (#24915271)

I think they are talking about the character database from the game. Has nothing to do with "DNA", except that in the game, you were a soldier who could be revived as a clone "from stored DNA" if you died. I died lots of times, horribly, in battle against insectoid aliens. Only to be revived, sent back into battle to die again...and again. I am deeply disturbed by the thought that somewhere, some time, there might be a version of me condemned to that particular hell. Now would be a good time to test that anti-satellite rocket.

Re:Fragile data (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913167)

so what would be the best way to ensure the survival (or continuance) of the human race in the case of a global catastrophe?

obviously space colonization is probably the best way to safeguard our species from extinction. but short of building massive traveling space colonies to ferry human settlers to other parts of the galaxy, there's no real practical means of establishing new human settlements beyond our own solar system.

perhaps we could set up colonies on Mars, Titan, or even the Moon. maybe we can even build monoliths on various planets within our own solar system that contain genetic samples (several thousands or more, including animal and plant species as well) and also broadcast human DNA sequences encoded in radio signals.

i don't know much about material science, but could it be possible to seal DNA samples inside some kind of protective capsule and launch these into space, sorta like human-assisted panspermia? i think i saw somewhere that certain microscopic bugs can resist atmospheric re-entry inside of meteorites. so could it be possible to insert human DNA into some hardy bugs or bacteria so that it can survive long-journeys through space. obviously these "seeds" won't grow into humans by themselves or anything. but it would be one way to at least spread the genetic information in case humans go extinct here on earth.

Great Idea - I support it fully (5, Funny)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909777)

Wait, what? Only their DNA? Damn

Nuclear DNA is not enough (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909787)

Presumably they are sending digitised nuclear DNA into space. That is not enough to make a human body: you need the mitochondrial DNA and somewhere suitable to grow the embryo.

That might give you a body, but what you really want is the person: all the memes that s/he has would need to be recorded and suitably grafted in, even then what you get won't be much like the original.

OK: I'll admit that it is a fun idea, but that is about it.

Re:Nuclear DNA is not enough (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910355)

Presumably they are sending digitised nuclear DNA into space.

They're not doing that even. At least not for several people. It took us 10 years and 3 billion dollars to sequence [wikipedia.org] the genome of one human being.

So what are they sending up? Maybe a copy of the reference human genome with some fingerprinting data for each individual? But genetic fingerprinting is like a hash, you can't work backward from it to get actual genome information.

Re:Nuclear DNA is not enough (2, Informative)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911119)

Yeah, there's an unfortunate misconception that the DNA contains sufficient information to make the organism. In addition to what you said, there are also the beneficial microbial organisms [boston.com] throughout animals that are required for many functions to work. For example, the digestive tract in particular requires the help of many bacteria. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember or google the actual term for this kind of cell.

Re:Nuclear DNA is not enough (1)

upside (574799) | more than 5 years ago | (#24916901)

Never mind the fact that our genetic makeup is only a tiny fraction of what makes us humans. A human re-created from DNA would still be an alien to us.

Silly (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909811)

1. They store the sequenced DNA digitally. Do we *know* we can rebuild a fully functioning creature from just that?
2. If we all died today the ISS would burn down in the atmosphere in only a few months due to atmospheric drag.
3. What kind of media is that anyways? Doesn't look like it's the type of thing that you could still read 1,000 years later.

Re:Silly (3, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909951)

1. They store the sequenced DNA digitally. Do we *know* we can rebuild a fully functioning creature from just that?

We know we can't. DNA is, if you like, a program; but in order to make sense of that program, you need an appropriate computer to run it on, which is a human womb.

Some combinations of animals are compatible with each other --- lions and tigers, for example --- but most animals aren't. Try to grow an embryo of the wrong species in an incompatible host and it'll crash; either it'll just die, or else the mother will abort it.

About the only thing you could do with a DNA sequence in isolation is poke through it looking for interesting protein sequences.

Re:Silly (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910257)

Lions and tiger are NOT compatible with each other. They're able to produce offspring, but Tigons and Ligers are sterile. Just like donkeys and horses are able to produce mules and hinnies, they're all sterile. Though I did read somewhere that a mutation occurred that caused a hinny to be non-sterile. Of course without a similar mutation occurring in another crossbred it wouldn't be very useful.

Re:Silly (2, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910349)

No, that's not what I meant --- a lion embryo will develop in a tiger womb, and vice versa. I'm not talking about the ability to cross-breed (although the reason why they're developmentally compatible is because, as you say, they're closely enough related that they can almost cross-breed).

The same applies to donkeys and horses.

Re:Silly (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911149)

>... but Tigons and Ligers are sterile. Just like donkeys and horses are able to produce mules and hinnies, they're all sterile. Though I did read somewhere that a mutation occurred that caused a hinny to be non-sterile.

Not _all_ of them are sterile, they never were.

Re:Silly (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913219)

Good point, although it wasn't my point. My point was that there probably was more to heredity than just a sequence of proteins. I.e. I'm not sure you can reconstruct a human being (or even a rat) by just having their digitized DNA, even if you could synthesise it.

Re:Silly (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913391)

Um... yes. That's what I said.

(In fact, there are a few known traits which are hereditary which are not genetic: having the trait in the mother causes the embryo to develop in a certain way which causes it to have the same trait. Nothing very exciting, though, unless someone's discovered something new since I heard about all this stuff.)

Re:Silly (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#24914355)

I seem to recall reading in a scientific magazine that it had recently been discovered that something like the folding of something, maybe the DNA double helix thing or something related to RNA, could have a role.

And no, that's not what you said, I was talking about creating a viable cell to begin with, you were talking about making that cell grow.

Will they be sending the DNA up... (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909835)

on a blue dress?

Re:Will they be sending the DNA up... (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913525)

wow, nice 16 year old joke

Surrender (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909841)

Humans are our DNA's elaborately evolved package to defend it from a hostile universe. Sending our DNA out into space undefended with its human package is simply surrendering without a fight.

Template of Doom (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909867)

This sounds great at first. But if it's in space, then aliens will get hold of it, clone me a hundred million times, arm all the mes to the teeth, and then invade.

It's okay if that happens with somebody else, but it would make me feel sort of guilty, being the template for the harbinger of extinction.

Re:Template of Doom (4, Funny)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909969)

This sounds great at first. But if it's in space, then aliens will get hold of it, clone me a hundred million times, arm all the mes to the teeth, and then invade.

Nah, you're missing the upside; after the invasion, sue them for copyright infringement and get the court to award you damages. Given that they've just conquered the Earth, the damages should be quite substantial.

Re:Template of Doom (3, Funny)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910029)

They're a race of evil inhuman plunderers. There's no way you'll be able to win against THEIR lawyers.

Re:Template of Doom (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912009)

...it would make me feel sort of guilty, being the template for the harbinger of extinction.

You're right. That would be terrible.

*quickly signs up* ;-D

Pessimistic? (3, Interesting)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909879)

They must be anticipating the demise of the human race really soon. So far I've outlived every hard drive I've ever owned... and all of those weren't exposed to hard radiation.

On a more abstract level, I doubt you'd be able to reconstruct any living creature using its DNA only. From what I understand of biology (which is rather limited), the DNA itself only contains the blueprints for how to create proteins, but the how, when, and how much is controlled by RNA, which previously had been overlooked as "just a carrier molecule". To put it in computer terms, the DNA is the processor, while the RNA is the operating system. You'd have a tough time re-creating Linux/Windows/Mac OS X based solely on the circuit diagram of a processor.

Re:Pessimistic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912143)

You do realize that RNA is created from DNA... right? RNA CAN'T exsist without DNA to make it. Having the DNA of an organism is enough.

Re:Pessimistic? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#24914689)

Yes; it's COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE that it's just a publicity stunt!!!

(Seriously, Slashdot, where are these people coming from? My guess: 1948.)

We're doomed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24909903)

The ISS orbit isn't particularly high, so the hard drive's orbit would decay pretty quickly.

I'm not sure how quickly, but it'd within a few years.

Guess he's not to optimistic about humanity's survival chances...

Not enough (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#24909957)

Won't we need some female DNA to rebuild the population?

Isn't that kinda like... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910091)

Asking for a 1:1 male to female ratio of bricks when building a house?

Who's got sand in their V? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910079)

y'all need to lighten up. It's a game promotion. A serious effort to preserve human DNA wouldn't be spearheaded by a space tourist.

Oh wait...this is Slashdot.

Carry on.

Voyager Golden Record (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910127)

Personally I am just happy that some of the music of Bach is on the Voyager Golden Record [wikipedia.org] , traveling off into the cosmos, and will in some small way survive even the heat death of our sun. That's _real_ immortality.

Re:Voyager Golden Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910255)

Don't worry. There will be some asshole in 200 years or so who will go and grab it in his spaceship so that he can sell it to some rich guy as a trophy. If you want the music of Bach to be safe, I recommend you transmit it to space with a large radio dish. Try not to use a DRM format.

Cue the porn jokes (1)

Scroatzilla (672804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910325)

...Send Gamers' DNA to Space

2010 A Sperm Odyssey
"My God, it's full of sperm!"
This gives new meaning to the term "blast off".
[All right, I'll shut up now.]

Extinct Humanity (1)

neopirate (606861) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910335)

If humanity was extinct who would retrieve the hard drive? And what type of file system does it have?

Re:Extinct Humanity (1)

old dr omr (1289450) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910489)

I expect the cockroaches will evolve into an inteligent species and retreive the capsule sometime in the future. Then the winners and celebs will be cloned and put into a zoo for all the cockroach kits to come and poke at. Some prize....

space junk (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910533)

isn't there already a problem with too much crap from earlier missions in orbit? do we really need another chunk of metal whizzing around for the next million years?
Tragic PR stunts should stay out of space.

Just Send Gamer's Keyboards Into Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24910913)

There's all the DNA you could ever need there.

Re:Just Send Gamer's Keyboards Into Space (1)

msu320 (1084789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913527)

There's all the DNA you could ever need there.

knowing the habits of /. users. If all gamers did that.. there would be no way to mod you up :0

Sorry but he is being misleading (4, Informative)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#24910939)

Current technology to COMPLETELY sequence a single person's DNA is still way too expensive to be practical. It cost billions of dollars for the NIH and Craig Venter's company to sequence the first human (in 2000). (Guess who's DNA they used!) Even after eight internet years It probably is still in the millions of dollars, I don't think Mr Garriot is going to fork over that kind of cash. He's probably going to pay for some people's genetic PROFILE to be sequenced, enough for certain genetic diseases to be exposed. (I think you can get this done for about $1000). Then again, aliens could also use it to pick out the (un)lucky human from a extra-terrestrial police line up! Still there certainly wouldn't be enough information to recreate the human "from scratch" even assuming the technology was available.

However, he could at least bring up Craig Venter's publicly available DNA and if stored digitally I'm sure that it could be encoded very very redundantly so that even a huge number of cosmic ray hits wouldn't effect it. Consider Voyager, with 30 year old tech., still can run its old programs.

As for bringing up the real stuff, I'm not sure that the NASA/ESA and other ISS partners would appreciate him bringing up little vials of other people's DNA for storage. (Of course some contamination has always been unavoidable, humans are basically walking bags of bacteria). Would he just take some hair samples or bring up DNA in more purified form? (Actually the previous poster's 2010: A Sperm Odyssey wouldn't be bringing up complete copies of the person's DNA because during reproduction the sperm cells only have half of the man's genes...). He could however get someone's DNA and using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) make as much of it as he wants. Milky white fluid, looks just like sperm.

Re:Sorry but he is being misleading (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24912607)

Current technology to COMPLETELY sequence a single person's DNA is still way too expensive to be practical. It cost billions of dollars for the NIH and Craig Venter's company to sequence the first human (in 2000). (Guess who's DNA they used!) Even after eight internet years It probably is still in the millions of dollars,

While you're basically right, you're absolutely wrong about this. Full genome sequencing has become incredibly cheap, relatively speaking. You can get your entire genome sequenced for a "mere" $350,000 or so. Sure, out of the reach of you or I, but not even half a million bucks.

What's brought on this revolution in sequencing technology costs?

Well, first, we've already sequence the whole genome, and individuals don't vary so much, so it's relatively easier to sequence a similar individual rather than piecing the whole puzzle together from scratch.

Second, the advent of shotgun sequencing (powered by computer string matching algorithms, yay) greatly lowered the cost of sequencing entire genomes. It was truly revolutionary, which let Venter's group pretty much catch up with the massive HGP many years later.

As the technology has continued to be refined, sequencing has dropped dramatically in price. Sequencing whole genomes of various species for research purposes has become relatively routine these days.

The Archon X Prize seeks to bring the cost down of sequencing individual human genomes down to around $10,000. It certainly seems like an achievable goal.

OOPS! MY BAD! Full sequence only $350K (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#24916599)

update-in today's MIT tech review they have a story about the first full sequences being available for $350K. So only the price of a dress (if you're Mrs. McCain ;).

Re:Sorry but he is being misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24917295)

Expensive, but not nearly as expensive as you seem to think:
http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/21341/?a=f

Missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911055)

You people talking about how the hard drive won't survive and you can't generate actual genome information and so forth are missing the entire point of this exercise: extravagant and pointless marketing.

Richard Garriott is not trying to save the human race. His plans aren't that grand. Instead, he's trying to save a failing game franchise with a publicity stunt.

Besides which, even assuming this DNA was called upon someday to repopulate the earth... what would we have? A whole lot of catass MMORPG addicts incapable of attracting females and convincing them to copulate.

By definition of MMORPG players, the only females on board would be celebrities, who may prove a difficult challenge for the aforementioned bearers of catass.

I submit that this is perhaps not the recipe of success that earth needs in its most dire hour.

space gaming comes true (1)

floatingrunner (621481) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911345)

so the wifi on the ISS is for gaming? -- NCSoft is korean right?

Pussy Nazi Sez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24911359)

No pussy for YOU!

Here's an idea Garriott! (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911733)

Instead of throwing money away at stupid promotions, why don't you put the money into the game and make it not suck so much?

What horseshit (0, Troll)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#24911975)

Garriott can get fucked and everyone else involved needs a brain transplant.

So When Aliens Analyze The DNA (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#24912061)

They will determine everyone on earth was fat, lazy, lived in their mom's basement, and were all virgins that didn't live past 45.

Why an orbiting satellite? (1)

DCNatsFan (1305661) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913033)

Why not just put the thing on a planet, or one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn? That should give it at least some protection, certainly more than it would have just orbiting around the Sun, and we would always know where to find it.

Great.... (1)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 5 years ago | (#24913369)

Another piece of space junk; I do, however, see an opportunity for gods must be crazy like moment where a hard drive falls out of the sky and hits a person, place or thing; or maybe someone does get the data, they follow the recipe hoping for something good, they get a few of us, realize their error and place the newly grown humans on a type M planet somewhere...

Re:Great.... (1)

DanJ_UK (980165) | more than 5 years ago | (#24914751)

If it lands on someone in the states you can be sure as hell NCSoft will get sued.

Aliens ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24915577)

... discover this hard drive in orbit. They read it, reproduce the DNA sequences and breed a race of gamer clones that will inevitably take over the universe.

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Money poorly spent (1)

kenj0418 (230916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24916339)

I agree with the previous commentor(s) who said they'd be much better off investing this money in improving the game instead.

Reagarding sending my DNA up into space:
1) Just the sequencing part of the promo sounds pretty cool, the sending to space part just stupid marketing crap
2) Sending the data up on a hard drive - WTF? Are we really using sneaker-net to get data to and from space now? Wouldn't ya think it be more effecient to maybe 'transmit' the data into space instead of bringing a fragile, heavy object with it on it up?

The way I pictured it (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24920951)

They take my sperm and Angelina Jolie's egg, make a test tube baby, launch it into space.

Sign me up!

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