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Ava has been genetically engineered to be super intelligent. Ava’s parents were hoping to raise a memory scientist, but instead a life in space is on the cards. As an Austronaut, team work and collaboration are really important skills. It’s not always easy when Ava is frustrated by slow-thinking people. But now, the final test of Austronaut school requires group work and Ava is at risk of failing. Can you practice together?

Will we all be genetically engineered Austronauts?

The space industry is growing in Australia. In Australia there are currently around 10,000 people working in the industry. The newly established Australian Space Agency wants to triple that number by 2030. They’ll need engineers and technicians, legal experts and communications specialists. We can’t yet guess where it will lead us, but we do know it’s likely to lead to a future of ongoing learning and development.

But just say in the next few decades when the Australian Space Agency is up and running, will there be mini-Avas that are genetically engineered to be super smart?

Well, we don’t know yet. Tinkering with our DNA is something that has gotten much easier over the last decades. In 2001, it cost $100 million to sequence our DNA, but today it can cost as little as $1300. What a bargain!

But sequencing our DNA is one thing, what happens when people want to edit them?

CRISPR technology allows us to edit our genes. This could be used to cure genetic disorders, but also enhance our intelligence and sporting abilities. Most Australians are on board with curing disease, but are not comfortable with creating genetically engineered braniacs.

For now, visit Ava in Austronaut School. Help them pass the test and decide what career in space to choose.