And what’s weirder, will this super-fruitfly be bred by an artist, rather than a scientist? Very much art meets science.
The air pressure on Titan is fifty percent higher than on Earth so I used a bicycle pump and pressure gauge to increase the pressure in the chamber to 1.5bar. That was probably the most authentic recreation of the conditions. Titan is a frosty -190 degrees but it would have been pointless exposing flies to that temperature as they would all die. Instead the idea is to use freezer elements to take down the temperature a few degrees at a time and try to selectively breed for resistance to low temperatures. The radioactive element from a smoke alarm simulated the radiation found on the moon and a series of UV LEDs represented the harsh UV rays that rain down.
The flies were kept in a cylindrical experimentation chamber and exposed to these different conditions sequentially for half an hour at a time. The males and females were separated and both went through the entire sequence of experiments. Afterwards if there was only one left, I choose that one to breed from. If there were several then I chose the ones that seemed to be the most active or the most unaffected by the experiments.
I was considering making Super Fly references, or maybe Superfly Jimmy Snuka references, but decided neither were quite as cool as the idea that some random guy is breeding the grossly evolutionarily accelerated fruit flies to adapt them to Titan’s climate, in advance of any planned mission to Titan.
While I’d love to get samples of Titan to find out if it has life on it already, putting Earth biota on Titan is a great idea. It’s effectively directed panspermia. Hopefully there’ll be enough nutrients in the environment on Titan when the fruitflies land that they won’t just die out pretty much instantly. Damn cool idea either way. Would probably work better with an extremophile bacteria already adapted to cold temperatures and Titan’s climate, but we’ll see.