Failure Is Not An Option

Photo via flickr by kevincollins

As the nation continues the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, NASA biologist Thomas Goodwin provides a glimpse of what we can expect in the coming decade as NASA continues its inspirational mission of discovery.

THOMAS GOODWIN

From a conversation with Sputnik Observatory.

Sputnik Observatory: What happens to cells in space?

Thomas Goodwin: I think what you can say about microgravity is that, again, from the data that we have so far, what we think is happening is the cells, or the genome of the human cell, has a memory of sorts. Sort of like loosely associated with what you would compare a computer to have a memory – once something is stored in the memory, even though you don’t use it for a long time, if you know where to go to find it, you can go back and access that information and bring it forward and use it. By the same token, the genetic composition of the human cell has all of the ability to go back, we think, and pull up information, not only from our generation but from generations past. Because, as we know, we’ve evolved as an organism through hundreds of thousands of years and that evolutionary process is all stored in our genetic makeup. So if we understand the right signals to give the cell, the right codes, if you will, then we can go back and get the cell to express things that it hasn’t expressed in a long time, or we can get it to express things, for example, that it expressed in the embryonic state.

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