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The $100 Million Hunt for Alien Life


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The $100 Million Hunt for Alien Life

...One technology Worden sees as having the potential to take us to the stars – "'us' being what we become," he says – is artificial intelligence. "You send some sort of essence of yourself, like an avatar," he says. "It would be settling the solar system and beyond with machines." Another popular scenario among futurists imagines the creation of von Neumann probes: self-replicating machines that travel to distant worlds, locate the ingredients needed to create more advanced copies of themselves, and repeat the process as they continue deeper into space. Worden sees promise in synthetic biology, transforming the raw materials of distant worlds into physical necessities that would otherwise need to be transported to support a crew, such as food and shelter. "Then all I need to transmit between worlds is information, and information travels at the speed of light, he says....
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