When last we discussed inter-planetary commerce the concept was that funding space-faring outposts of humanity could somehow be accomplished using commercial endeavors rather than public funding. The assumption being that any other life bearing planet would have have it’s own evolution, creating much different organisms than the earth, different ecosystems/biomes/flora/fauna.
In addition to the distinctly different biology, there would be a whole new geophysical environment such as weather systems, volcanic activity, plate tectonics, space weather, etc which could be analyzed to help better understand geophysical processes here on earth and other planets.
Information like this from any other life giving planet would be invaluable to pharmaceutical companies, agricultural corporations, research organzations, etc. Such information could be used to more than pay back the investors in the space colonization effort. (see my posts on Information commerce – part 2 and Information inter-planetary commerce). Of course many risks exist for such activities not the least that all would be lost enroute, upon landing or shortly thereafter before any valuable information could be transmitted, information links could be severed for any number of technological reasons, and possibly the chosen planet would be unsuitable for human habitation for any number of reasons. And yet the potential rewards would be equivalent to having another earth with all its biological treasures available at your fingertips.
Well a recent Economist special on the third industrial revolution or the digitization of manufacturing just re-started the whole discussion for me. It seems there is a product called the “Replicator” that performs both additive and subtractive manufacturing but also provides detail scanning of any part. Such that, at one location a Replicator could scan a part and then ship this detailed information to another Replicator, around the other side of the world, or across space to another planet for that matter using that information to re-create the part.
It’s too much a leap of faith to see that sometime in the future, such a device could work in the biological domain just as easily as it could with mechanical parts. It might have to be capable of gene sequencing and/or other types of biological assays/scanning. But if it could do this, then life forms on other planets could be scanned, with DNA/RNA/xNA sequences sent elsewhere to even another planet to construct a facsimile of that life form.
Of course having the DNA for an cell, and creating the living/breathing organism or even a working cell are two different things. But it seems to me that having the sequence of xNA, and other epi-genetics of the life form would give some company enough information to recreate a life form from somewhere else in the galaxy.
So rather than shipping goods across the galaxy one would ship replicator information which could then be used to re-create the biological organisms discovered on other planets. When you combine the biological treasures to the geophysical value of another life giving planet you may have enough valuable information to fund these exo-planetary colonization activities as a purely commercial activity.
Such information transactions could conceivably form the backbone of an information barter economy. Whereby, one planet would barter with another for some useful biological or geophysical information. Once bartering activity is up between two planets, other forms of information transfer could take place beyond that ultimately providing technological information that could help both societies.
Why it’s even conceivable that two planets who just managed to contact one another but were two far away for any material commerce could start off by providing geophysical information about each others planet to one another. Over time evolving from geophysical, arguably the least valuable, to biological which would be more valuable, to ultimately technological information which would be most valuable. Establishing trust and reciprocal value from each exo-planetary interchange.
This seems to me to be how exo-planetary commerce could develop, could mature for the benefit of all players.
Of course, the language translation would need to be accomplished but here again starting with geophysical information would provide a sort of baseline or even a “rossetta stone” for exo-planetary language translation which could boot strap the conversation to more esoteric information transfers…
Of course all this information has to be stored someplace… Comments?