Stephen Hawking's DNA to be sent into space

NCsoft will now be sending the digitized DNA of world-renowned theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking into space as part of its ambitious “Operation Immortality ” project, which the Tabula Rasa publisher is considering humanity’s “saved game.” This gives us the opportunity to imagine what would happen if the digital DNA of Hawking and Stephen Colbert were to accidentally merge on the International Space Station. Sounds like a great sci-fi sitcom to me.

Hawking, along with his daughter, Lucy, are participating in the project to raise awareness for the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, a competition that will award $10 million to the first person or team that can sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less.

"Operation Immortality" is the brainchild of Richard Garriott, the creative force behind Tabula Rasa. According to a press release, this is not the first time Garriott and Hawking have teamed up for a high-flying adventure.

In 2007, Garriott hosted Hawking aboard a zero gravity flight where Hawking was able to experience a weightless environment.

"Richard and I share the same dream of traveling into space," said Stephen Hawking. "And we both realize the incredible importance of DNA to life in the universe."

In actuality, Hawking would like to have sent his completely sequenced genome into space. Current science however, is not yet capable of producing low-cost, fully sequenced genomes. By participating in this project, Hawking hopes to highlight the need for inexpensive, fully sequenced human genomes so that scientists and doctors can begin to better understand ways to identify, treat and prevent disease.

Richard Garriott said, "This is simply one of the most exciting honors of my life. To have Stephen Hawking participate in my space flight project is incredible and it makes this once-in-a-lifetime experience even more meaningful and exciting. If our world did meet an early end, anyone who finds the Immortality Drive will certainly find the best that humanity has to offer."

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