Terraforming—literally, “earth shaping”—is a concept from science fiction. People re-form another planet to make it resemble Earth, in order to support human life. But as humans begin serious off-planet exploration (see: Space and Off-Planet Trends), we will need to develop new agricultural techniques suitable for space. One key to terraforming might be in our current microbes, which are capable of surviving harsh environments like the Atacama Desert. Of course, we might even invent entirely new forms of life using synthetic biology. To advance terraforming from theory to reality, we’ll need a host of new robots that can be trained to mine for resources and build an ecosystem that can sustain human life. In addition, we will need hybrid-skilled researchers with backgrounds in biology, botany, agriculture, robotics, and physics.
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