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The Future of Genetic Warfare. The Science of The Expanse, Episode 12

Creating a Martian-Killer.  This week's Science of The Expanse delves into the chemical warfare of the future.


The Expanse has been painstakingly crafted to be as scientifically accurate as possible, so we'd be doing the whole universe a disservice if we didn't call out all of the minutiae that make the show the most realistic look at the future we've ever seen. We sat down with Daniel Abraham, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, the co-creators and producers (Daniel is also 1/2 of the team that wrote the book series the show is based on)  to get the lowdown on the insane level of detail and intricacy they put into the science we see in the show. But how real is it? Nerds, read on.

Q:  Errinwright engages in some subterfuge in episode 12 where he poisons Korshunov with a poison that was developed specifically for humans taking gravity pills, so was this basically an assassination program?
DANIEL ABRAHAM:  If Martians attack earth, and that is the expectation, and if we ever get into it with them on our turf, we know what drugs they need to take for them to survive in our atmosphere and thrive as soldiers. So, Earthers will basically use that weakness against them.  That's their Achilles heal, the bone density, among other cocktail drugs, if we found a way that targeted that specific enzyme for people who need those drugs, then you’ve basically got a Martian killer.  It's  using their weakness against them. It's drug warfare and I feel like that’s the direction of smart viruses. All this shit that's going to become real and is already being played with, where you can target specific DNA-types and ethnicities.  I mean, that's all going to be part of the genome mastering and it's going to be horrible. It’s using that sick idea that you can get your enemy on a cellular level, rather than shoot at them.  
DANIEL ABRAHAM: An important question of the future is how to weaponize new technology, it seems like that’s a question the UN would be asking.  They still have some of this stuff back in the vault, obviously?  It was banned, but, the heads of states still have some of that shit in the vault and he uses it. I think it’s smart to target a head of state.  Errinwright's a bastard, but he’s smart.
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MARK FERGUS:  Because they're Martian you can kill them without lifting a finger, really, or not picking up a gun. You know what's coursing through their bloodstream and how to use it against them.  I think that's an especially f**ked up way to attack your enemy.

Catch up on The Expanse here.