The latest news from the Solar System. In this issue:
- from our Mars correspondent – Protecting engineered species?
- from our sports correspondent – Billiards player caught using high-tech cheat
Several types of lizards who were specifically engineered to facilitate pollination of flowering plants on Mars are now close to extinction, because the successful introduction of pollinating insects rendered the lizards practically useless for horticulture.
The pollination of flowers has proven to be a difficult problem in off-world colonies. Since introducing insects to the Martian agriculture and horticulture domes was much more complicated than imagined, scientists managed to find a solution in lizards. The bright green Martian Gecko for example, has been engineered to be perfectly adapted to the conditions in the domes, pollinating flowers so the farmers didn’t need to pollinate by hand.
However, since the successful introduction of pollinating insects, the lizards became a rare choice for farmers to fall back to to pollinate their plants, since the insects were much more efficient when combined with the right technology to keep their populations healthy and the insects away from air filters and vulnerable parts.
Many lizards have managed to survive as opportunists in several domes, but now their numbers are said to have declined to just around a few hundreds distributed over all Martian colonies. Some species like the Martian Gecko are estimated to have just around a few dozen individuals left, and have recently only been spotted in a number of domes in the New Eden horticulture complex. Several lizard enthusiasts have been organizing petitions to save these endangered engineered species, by asking farmers to adapt the conditions in their domes to facilitate these lizards.
Phillipe Chevalier was caught using un-permitted retinal tech during the Earth-Jupiter billiards tournament.
After winning the previous two tournaments consecutively despite stiff competition, this year it was revealed he was using an implant to calculate estimated trajectory of the shot he was aiming for using a contact lens based HUD.
Not only does this disqualify him and ban him from participating in any official tournaments for life on top of a serious fine, it also pulls into question whether or not his previous wins are legit. Neither Chevalier or the organizers of the tournament were available for comment on this matter claiming legalities around the matter were still under investigation.
Leaked information has suggested the technology used was based on tech on display by OCP at the Jupiter R&D expo last fall, but without the registration codes required by law on the device parts making it difficult to trace. It does imply that it was built knowing it would be used for illegal purposes, as was pointed out by legal experts.
When asked for a response, OCP’s representatives vehemently denied accusations about the company’s involvement, and issued a statement they would start an investigation of their own of this “blatant technology theft”.