I am trying to figure out how to build a human colony on a moon (75% of Earth size) of a gas giant.
Some details of the planetary system chosen for colonisation:
- K-type main sequence star (about 60% of Sun size; orange; lower radiation emission than Sun);
- large asteroid belt which can be mined for all and any necessary materials;
- a gas giant is in the Goldilocks zone (closer to the star than in our Solar system);
- this gas giant does not have a strong magnetosphere;
- it has 3 moons, the largest of which is being colonised;
- this moon is the only candidate in the entire star system for establishing a colony.
The colonists do not have contact with Earth and cannot receive supplies or technology updates. The majority of them are scientists (not just STEM, social sciences as well) and engineers. The team is very small — under 200 people.
Their genetic engineering technologies are higher level than today, but not at the level of magic. For example:
- Corrective genetic therapies that modify all cells over a relatively short time are available, but their effectiveness is limited to fixing/changing small chunks of DNA. Changes in adult organisms at chromosomal level and massive tissue transformations (like a sex change) are not possible.
- Utilization of techniques like CRISPr allow permanent inheritable genetic changes even when a therapy is administered to adults (not sure about women, but males definitely).
- "Designer-babies" are not only possible but the technology will be widely used to avoid population bottleneck and Founders effect.
- Decoded genomes of various species are readily available in a digital form and can be synthesised in a lab.
- The overall understanding of human genome (what genes and their groups are responsible for) is much higher than today's but is not 100%. Thus it is not possible to create a race of highly intelligent super-human beings with a precise set of characteristics.
The colonists do not have moral or ethical restrictions on experiments. But they would like to avoid creating human chimaeras as much as possible. Their main objective is to ensure the survival of the colony while still keeping it human.
There are some radiation resistant species on Earth, notably Deinococcus radiodurans and Thermococcus gammatolerans. Both microorganisms can repair DNA damage even after receiving very high acute radiation doses. Theoretically, we can use their genome to figure out what genes are responsible for radiation resistance and then modify genomes of all other species (humans, flora, fauna, etc.). Perhaps the first generation of colonists will not be able to undergo such a drastic transformation and will be confined to the radiation shelters. But all the following generations and ecosystem will be protected.
I wonder if this is a feasible strategy. Are there any other considerations that I have to keep in mind (for example, the moon's atmosphere deteriorating at a rate higher than robotic asteroid miners can replenish it)?