The exploration / colonization of space and nearby planets presents several challenges. Among these are lower gravity, lower pressure and exposure to both solar, and cosmic radiation -- each of which raise significant doubts about manned exploration. One strategy to address these challenges would be to "cyborg up" our explorers (Isaac Arthur) presumably replacing vulnerable human systems with mechanical alternatives.

What three biological systems would you prioritize for replacement (more than three systems is acceptable as long as they are prioritized)? What would you replace them with?


  • Technological advances such as mind machine interfaces, nannites capable of repairing light tissue damage are available.

  • You have power generation / batteries to match the strength of a
    recruit fresh from boot camp for at least a day. The power generation / battery does not give off large amounts of dangerous radiation.

  • Materials should be reasonably conventional. That is: Adamantium no. Titanium yes. Composite yes. Diamond yes.

  • Your cyborg's mission package is generic. In other words your cyborg rebuild is meant to explore Mercury, Mars, the asteroid belt... changing out only minimal components (Venus could be considered a special case.

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    $\begingroup$ The entire body. Just keep the brain and put it into an armored unit, which keeps it alive. Transfer signals to it via MMI. Then plug whatever instruments and sensors you need for a given mission into your chassie. Basically ghost in a shell, but a lot less sexy. Unless you are into mechanical tentacles that is. $\endgroup$ – TheDyingOfLight Jan 6 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ I think that this is poorly suited for this site. It might get shut down as too broad or opinion based. The Isaac Arthur Subreddit would be a great place for this question. $\endgroup$ – TheDyingOfLight Jan 6 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ 100 years is probably extremely optimistic. Just 60 years ago, people thought we'd have cheap fusion power and flying cars in 40 years. Rather than basing it on a time frame, consider the base technology necessary and handwave it into existence (i.e., mind-machine interfaces, because a mind will need to control its replaced organs.)... And yes, this does seem a bit of a poor fit for this site. $\endgroup$ – Ghedipunk Jan 6 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ Molecular Biology. Adapt each cell in the body to obtain energy via direct current much like some iron-oxidising bacteria can. Introduce chlorophyll and particularly the co2 splitting complexes into the skin. Activate/add all amino-acid/vitamin complex production pathways in humans. The end result is a human that requires little to no food or supplements, can perform some/all of the atmospheric scrubbing required, and can draw energy directly from an RTG or battery pack. This simplifies the mission profile drastically. $\endgroup$ – Kain0_0 Jan 6 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to vote to leave open. The prioritization can be backed by science and data, moving this out of the "opinion based" zone. And it is a very specific question of the highest priority physical systems (it only has one question, and that question has a clear way to answer it). It's an edge case, I can see that, but I think it can fly. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 7 at 1:08

Remote access and life support tanks

You stick the squishy breakable human in a tube in a bunker that keeps him alive and remote link his brain to a robot body.

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This way even if the robot is wiped out, the human survives.

Whatever squishy human bits you stick in a robot body is still going to have to deal with extremes that it was never meant to handle. This means you need life support, radiation shielding, air supply, food and water.

A remote piloted robot is far simpler and more robust than any cyborg.

If you want to be tricky, the human doesn't actually have to leave the tube. Their eat / sleep segment could be done in a virtual world (The Matrix) and go off to work working a remote piloted physical robot.

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  • $\begingroup$ Remote pilot body has lag issues that may not be acceptable. But if the lag is ok, I agree with Thorne. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 7 at 4:51
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this would be a viable option only because the OP mentioned colonization. Why colonize with remote control robots $\endgroup$ – Dtb49 Jan 7 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ Both SRM and Dtb49 - Because it's unsafe to go outside. The bunker can on said planet you're terraforming or a ship orbiting the planet or even in an armoured rover 20 meters away from said bot. The point is a mass of protection around the human beyond what a cyborg body can give. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Jan 7 at 23:34

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