A genetically engineered organism that lives 10 times longer than normal has been created by scientists in California. It is the greatest extension of longevity yet achieved by researchers investigating the scientific nature of ageing.
If this work could ever be translated into humans, it would mean that we might one day see people living for 800 years. But is this ever going to be a realistic possibility?
Valter Longo is one of the small but influential group of specialists in this area who believes that an 800-year life isn't just possible, it is inevitable.
I've sometimes found myself in the preposterous position of "defending" my desire to live, if not forever, then as long as scientifically possible.
So, why do I want to live forever?
Easy -- for the same reason that I want to wake up tomorrow. There's nothing especially disturbing about negligible senescence unless one approaches the idea with at least some degree of emotional bias. And to be fair, we've been forced to grow used to the seeming inevitability of death in much the same way that our ancestors were forced to accommodate plagues instigated by an inability to understand germs.
But to make it short: there's a lot I want to see and do . . . but, unfortunately, not much of it's on Earth. Barring the abrupt invention of practical interstellar flight, my best chance of experiencing the Cosmos is by surviving the temporal gulf between "now" and "then."
And who knows? Maybe I can make myself useful in the process.