OTHER SPACE TOPICS
- topics that don't fit into the other categories -



THE BIOSPRESERVE

A large side project of the Achieving Earth Independence project would be to establish a "frozen zoo" on the Moon containing biologic material from much of the known species on Earth. How could this be accomplished?

THE NUMBER OF KNOWN SPECIES
There are about 8.7 million species on Earth of which 1.2 million have been described. If one were to save only a selective number within certain groups of species (e.g. beetles = 350,000) then that 1.2 million could be reduced to about 800,000. If each species were given a sample size of about 3 cubic centimeters on average then the 800,000 species could be preserved in a cryogenically-frozen payload which could be delivered to a permanently-frozen, lunar polar bunker for indefinite storage. In this way, a record of much of Earth's known biosphere would be preserved indefinitely.

COLLECTING THE BIOPRESERVE
How would one collect such a large number of species and create a frozen BioPreserve prior to shipping them to the Moon? To achieve this, a consortium of universities and colleges around the world would need to be created along with protocols and processing methods to collect, appropriately-preserve, ship, and assemble the frozen BioPreserve payload. To start this project, a website collecting all of the scientifically-known species would need to be created including their locations on Earth. Then the participating colleges and universities could arrange field trips to collect, preserve, and ship the specimens to central locations for processing.

RESURRECTABLE FORMS
The form in which specimens would be preserved would be in their most-resurrectable form:
   - Seeds - Plants
   - Spores - Fungi
   - Frozen whole - Bacteria, archaea, & protozoa
   - Frozen embryos - Fish
   - Frozen embryos - Amphibians
   - Frozen embryos - Reptiles
   - Frozen embryos - Birds
   - Frozen embryos - Mammals

Mammals need a living mother which the frozen embryos could be implanted into. There are 5,416 known species of mammals. Transporting 5,416 females of each species would require many payloads. The current concept would be to ship small, immature females at one per family to a zoo habitat as part of the permanent base. There, they would be raised to adulthood using automated systems to unload the animal care workload from the crew as much as possible. If it became necessary to resurrect the mammals off Earth, the female mammal would be implanted with a frozen embryo of a similarly-related species. This is termed, "xenotransplantation" and has been done for a number of species. Then the new species could be used to implanted with a frozen embryo of a yet further-related species. This could be termed, "lateral resurrection" until all of the mammals were resurrected.

MINIMUM VIABLE POPULATION
An important concept for the BioPreserve is that of the minimum viable population (MVP). This is the minimum population size necessary to ensure that the population doesn't collapse and go extinct due to inbreeding. There needs to be enough genetic variety for the population to survive. MVPs can vary dramatically between species. Typically, MVPs can range from between dozens to thousands. Increasing the BioPreserve by this amount would make shipping an MVP for all species impractical. Unfortunately, we would need to become selective of which species we preserve in with a viable population.

Important populations with MVPs would include (in descending order of priority):
   - humans
   - species that humans depend upon to survive (e.g. food plants & farm animals)
   - representative species from different families (about 20,000)
   - keystone species (upon which other several other species are dependent)

So, the final BioPreserve might be a sophisticated collection of species serving practical and scientific goals.

THE FROZEN ZOO IN SAN DIEGO
The closest work to the BioPreserve is currently being done at the Frozen Zoo Project at the San Diego Zoo. There they have an expert team that is collecting and freezing samples from endangered species with the goal of preserving and bringing back species should they become extinct. It is an important work and their experience would be most valuable should the BioPreserve Project be started (i.e. funded).

A consortium of universities collecting species from around the world can produce a frozen payload to be delivered to the Moon to back up Earth's biosphere.



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