The checklist of mycologists whose names are recognized past their fungal discipline is brief, and at its apex is Paul Stamets. Educated in, and a longtime resident of, the mossy, moldy, mushy Pacific Northwest area, Stamets has made quite a few contributions over the previous a number of a long time— maybe the perfect summation of which may be present in his 2005 e-book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. But now he’s wanting past Earth to find new ways in which mushrooms can assist with the exploration of house.
In a brand new “astromycological” enterprise launched in conjunction with NASA, Stamets and varied analysis groups are learning how fungi may be leveraged to construct extraterrestrial habitats and maybe sometime even terraform planets. This is just not the primary time Stamets’s profession has intersected with speculative house science. He additionally just lately acquired an honor that many researchers would contemplate solely barely much less hallowed than a Nobel Prize: the excellence of getting a Star Trek character named after him.
Scientific American spoke with Stamets concerning the out-of-this-world implications for the rising discipline of astromycology.
[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]
First, a chicken-or-egg query: Did Star Trek: Discovery identify a personality after you since you had began exploring astromycology, or was the concept for astromycology impressed by Star Trek?
CBS acquired ahold of me and mentioned the writers