SpaceX announced a partnership this week with space tourism Space Adventures to start launching passengers to orbit aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft starting as early as 2021, TechCrunch reports.
SpaceX says it will send four privately-paying space tourists to orbit the Earth for five days in its Crew Dragon capsule between “late-2021 and mid-2022,” according to CNBC.
“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement.
Space Adventures already sells seats on Russian Soyuz rockets.
SpaceX’s passenger-carrying Crew Dragon capsule, developed as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, has so far completed a successful test trip and docking maneur to the International Space Station last year, but has yet to make the journey with any passengers on board.
Earlier this year, SpaceX tested its space taxi’s emergency abort system in dramatic fashion, intentionally blowing up a Falcon 9 rocket in the process.
German scientists say that for the first time ever, they’ve created a lab-grown artificial genome that can reproduce itself like a natural one.
It’s not quite one of those replicants from “Blade Runner,” but it’s a step toward the holy grail of synthetic biology: fully artificial organisms that can survive and reproduce like the real thing. In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications this week, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry describe how they assembled genomes made up of blueprints for proteins — and demonstrated that it was capable of replicating 116 kilobytes worth of its own RNA and DNA.
Next up, according to a press release, the team plans to build an “enveloped system” that can reproduce like this last one — but also consume nutrition and dispose of waste, like a living cell.