It’s hardly the most romantic gesture in the universe for Valentine’s Day – it smacks more of sci-fi horror and global dystopia – but all-around ultrapreneur Elon Musk is blasting a superbug into space to accelerate its growth for the occasion, according to Futurism, a news site that covers transformative technologies across a range of sectors.
The bug will be dispatched tomorrow by Musk’s own company, SpaceX, to live in microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The bacterium being shot into space is MRSA, or Merthicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which reveals itself in the human body as painful, swollen, red bumps and can infect the bones, joints and even blood. The life-threatening infection kills more Americans than HIV/Aids, Parkinson’s disease, and emphysema combined. So why send it to space?
By accelerating the mutations of the bacterium in space, scientists can study the progression of the bug quicker than they can on Earth, thus getting a head start on finding a cure. Anita Goel, CEO of biotech company Nanobiosym, says the purpose is to, “leverage the microgravity environment on the ISS to accelerate the Precision Medicine revolution here on Earth.”
The long-term goal of this project, and those to inevitably follow, is a medical future where even the most formidable antibiotic-resistant bacteria are no longer a fatal threat. What’s not to love about that?