My alternate version of the human race has progressed just to the brink of the ability to explore and possibly colonize other earth like exo-planets. the story follows an expedition crew has decided to explore a planet that appears to have a abundance of lower intelligence, predator and prey organisms. Upon touchdown on the surface crew 2 crew members are subdued and killed by a large predatory animal. After much deliberation the crew decides that augmenting a select few crew members genetics and physical structure could allow them to scout and research in such a hostile environment, and increase their ability to escape if needed.

This is where help would be appreciated. What augmentations would help the researchers survive in this African savanna like environment?

I've considers everything from ocular implants, to full reconstruction of the pelvis and legs to try to maximize speed. Think Avatar like genetic and physical modification still some what Humanoid but still alien or animal looking. I'm going for a tribal aesthetic so any input is more than welcome.

Thank you!


closed as too broad by Mołot, Frostfyre, elemtilas, JBH, GerardFalla Jan 16 at 17:12

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  • $\begingroup$ To clarify, do you mean that they'd do some sort of operation on the person to "adapt" them? Say, embedding weapons and life support systems in their bodies? Or is this something innate to the human race that may or may not be activatable through conscious effort? $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 16 at 9:15
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    $\begingroup$ best augmentation would be weapons and scout training. An armoured vehicle would be a good idea as well. People happily roam Africa right now in jeeps with rifles. $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Jan 16 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi I'd agree. Giving somebody a stick to remove dangerous animals and a guide book that teaches them "don't get eaten" (exaggerating a bit...) is pretty cheap and efficient in terms of adapting a person for a hostile environment than modifying a person $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 16 at 9:19
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    $\begingroup$ This is very poor writing. If they have the resources to gonto a other Earth-like planet, they have the resources to walk around with drones able to dispatch elephants with ease. If all they have to deal with are animals, any reader over 11 will be hard-pressed buying it. For real reasons to geneticaly modify space travelers, look for inspiration iin stories like Old Man's War. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jan 16 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ Curiously, you talk about genetically adapting people as if it were no big deal. That's tech way beyond "the brink of the ability to explore and possibly colonize other earth-like exo-planets." I call this a "technology dichotomy," a phrase that describes two or more technologies that are not well matched (like controlling a time machine with a toggle switch). $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 16 at 16:46

Humans don't survive based on our immediate physical abilities. We're not tigers, we don't have sharp teeth, claws and overwhelming strength. Humans are obligate tool users. If you want your explorers to survive, you have to give them better tools, better support and better training.

Are you here to be touchy feely or here to take over and colonise? You're not here to fight the animals mano a mano, you want a new world to inhabit, so you probably need to kill most of them on an industrial basis anyway.

Create a sterile zone in which to land, turn it into a kill zone if anything crosses the line. If that means torching everything within 200metres of the drop zone, so be it. Then set up to explore, preferably in armoured vehicles.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that you do need to account for evolution beyond 2019 as well. For example, if the colony ship took generations to travel, the humans' bone structure may have changed due to the zero (or low) G environment and/or lack of sunlight. In such cases, genetic engineering would be desirable in relation to living on the planet (but it would be mostly unrelated to dealing with things like wildlife). $\endgroup$ – Flater Jan 16 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ How does this answer not entirely miss the point of the question? The question isn't "how best can humans colonise a planet" it's, $\endgroup$ – Finn O'leary Jan 16 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @FinnO'leary, frame challenges are acceptable round here, if you think the OP has taken entirely the wrong approach to the problem they're describing then challenging it is permissible. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 16 at 18:58

We humans have survived thousands of years in the savanna without external genetic improvements (actually we evolved while we were roaming the bushes and surviving all the nice predators and dangers we found there).

Don't forget that homo sapiens is a social animal, and works better in groups.

Don't send out a couple of people in exploration, send a group of more people. If your people are able to use genetic at will, they can easily produce clones, without specific genetic engineering. They just need a good number of people.

Our ancestors were able to hunt down a mammoth just using stick, stones, their brain and their social aptitude! And I am pretty sure that a space faring civilization has better than stick and stones.

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    $\begingroup$ Came here to say that humans are already fantastically well adapted to life in a savannah-like environment. Turns out you've already said it! $\endgroup$ – Ynneadwraith Jan 16 at 15:40

Though the other answers already give some good ideas I will try to stick to the biological aproach.

  • Increased healing (regenerating of lost arms/legs). Though they will still be stuck where they are, they will be able to work again after healing.
  • Spitting some nasty fluids out of your arms (like Spiderman his webs). Let it be some kind of acid or just stink. It would suffice to repell most predators.
  • better hearing, darkvision (for obvious reasons)
  • specialization: make one really big, to increase his viewing range, one really fast for scouting, one really strong for building/fighting
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps changes in bone density to make it easier to work in the different gravity, or making them taller to be able to sprint faster. Improving hand-eye coördination (maybe mechanical aids/implants?) and immune resistance? :) $\endgroup$ – Finn O'leary Jan 19 at 2:50

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