[extropy-chat] Nanoassembly Blueprints using Atomic Resolution MRI

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 14:21:37 UTC 2007

On 4/3/07, A B <austriaaugust at yahoo.com> wrote:

> http://www.csulb.edu/~mbarbic/atomres.htm
> [Beware: Twice when I clicked the internal hyperlink to this professor's
> home page (not the above page), IE had to shut down due to an error. Just an
> innocent glitch I'm sure, but all the same.]

Which is funny since the pages seem to have been written in MS-Word (ROTFL).
It is worth noting that the Diagrams in his pages do not display because the
image path he is using is using a backslash rather a slash to indicate
directories (may work on Windows but isn't standard HTML!)

If AR-MRI does become possible (and I guess it looks both possible and
> practical), it could potentially improve our chances of achieving true
> "outside-Earth" sustainability; like in a space colony for example.

What makes you think this?  The primary requirement for off-Earth
sustainability is the ability to convert X watts of solar or nuclear energy
into resources (primarily water and reduced carbohydrates)  required to
sustain human bodies as currently designed (humans are generally 100W
machines, but if you look at plant food source efficiencies it probably
requires 5-10,000 W of solar energy to produce the required food).  You have
to make a case that the direct synthesis of the required molecules
(nanoassembly) would be more efficient than existing nanoscale based systems
(plants, bacteria, chemical synthesis, etc.)

With the appropriate software (and a practical level of hardware), it
> appears to me that scanning with AR-MRI could provide on-the-fly blueprints
> for a nanofactory or nanoassembler.

We already have nanoassemblers.  They are called DNA polymerase, RNA
polymerase and ribosomes.  We already have "nanofactories". Sugar cane is a
good example.  Cyanobacteria are another.  I think what you mean to say is
"general purpose" nanoassembler and "universal" nanofactories.

Having AR-MRI doesn't give you squat with respect to blueprints for
structures which currently *do  not exist*.  Those have to be designed or
evolved.  That was the primary point behind the Nano at Home proposal that I
wrote several years ago.  The only thing AR-MRI gives you, potentially, is
the ability to precisely read existing structures.  That means that
structures which are difficult to read using other methods, such as precise
reading of synaptic junctions of frozen neurons, may be feasible.  In my
mind AR-MRI is only useful for assisting in the determination of molecular
structures which are impossible to crystalize (which is likely to be help in
the scientific understanding of complex multi-molecule structures,
particularly for example those involved in oxidative phosphorylation in the
mitochondria, or potentially the process of mind uploading).

For example the blueprints of a variety of foods could be obtained and used
> to reconstitute those objects. The applications for this would be huge. But,
> like most things technology, it could also be used to harm. Hopefully, the
> good uses will overcome the potentially bad ones.

We know the enzyme pathways required to produce sugar (and more complex
carbohydrates), fats and amino acids.  The blueprints for the machines
needed in these molecular assembly lines are sitting in Genbank (in may
cases we have dozens of variations on the assemblers).  We do not *yet* have
the blueprints for the machines which efficiently assemble less common
molecules such as resveratrol or cone snail toxins or very complex molecules
such a brevitoxin B (though I believe in all cases we can chemically
synthesize them).

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20070404/3183c471/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list