Biological immortality is something all pharaohs longed for. The Babylonians though, created the phoenix which is always reborn out from its own ashes. Alexander the Great nearly conquered the whole world just to be unforgettable and the kings of Spain searched for the tree of eternal life in Latin America. The same hormones and processes that make us grow also make our body age and perish because we can’t reproduce ourselves forever. One day our body will just stop.  Our heart, our brain and our organs are going to grow weak, and we will die.

But there are certain species on earth which seem to possess the ability of infinite reproduction. Numerous types of jelly fish live forever if they wouldn’t be eaten or caught by disease. The reason lies in their distinct form of reproduction. They basically produce themselves over and over again and the species Turritopsis nutricula seems to return back to its child form every time. Sea cucumbers can also live forever under certain circumstances, just like some freshwater polyps, which just don’t age. Even lobsters seem to do the same.

Genuinely immortal, in terms of ongoing cell formation, is cancer. This disease produces tumors in which new cells are formed again and again and that for theoretically endlessly long. It’s kind of a cynical move from nature that the apparent immortal life lies in one of our greatest weaknesses.

The Methuselah Mouse Prize of more than 2 million € goes to the one who successfully makes the eternal life possible, in medical terms. After all, we’re already so far developed that we can bring the temperature of a body down to -196°C to suspend their body functions and conserve them. The brain, which is the home of your conscience, could therefore be preserved forever. There are studies on transplanting the conscience of someone into a new body, enabling your “soul” to live on – theoretically. But that is still in the planning. So are the ideas of merging man and machine.

But then there’s the question if you really wish to live forever. Is it such a horrible notion to sink into oblivion one day? As we can learn from the movie The Fountain: “True immortality comes with the acceptance of death. After death, we all just return into the circle of life.”