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"Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
- Philip K. Dick

Adaptene  
  Parent of all hormones, it makes possible the adaptation of the human organism to alien worlds.  

...how had human metabolism, the stabilized result of millions of years of evolution on Earth, been changed? In the final analysis, it all centered about the use of one remarkable product of biological science, developed twenty-five years before.

It was called, for the press and public, just ďadaptene," but only the most trusted officials of the Institute knew what it was by formula. By its very nature, it had to be shrouded in secrecy and kept from the hands of unscrupulous individuals. The Earth Union Government controlled exclusively the manufacture and use of adaptene.

Adaptene was the parent substance of all hormones in the living body. It controlled all metabolism, and therefore all the body processes to the last one.

Most remarkable of the applications of this near-miraculous substance had been the conquest of Jupiterís inimical environment. It had seemed impossible at first. At Jupiter's surface was a crushing gravity, almost three times that of Earth, that made human bones and muscles crack in a few hours.

A moisture-choked heat, from the Titanic layers of pressing gases, promised constantly parched throats and slowly boiling skin. Worst of all, the atmosphere itself was laden with gases, besides oxygen, never meant for earthly lungs ó methane, ammonia, and even traces of searing bromine that exuded from volcanic sources and gave the whole atmosphere its brownish tinge.

The natural life-forms of Jupiter's wild environment were adapted by millions of years of evolution. How could Earthmen, nurtured ia a gentler climate, meet that terrible challenge?

It was tried. A series of conditioning rooms had been prepared, with successively greater air pressure, heat and foreign gases. In a way, it was like the Twentieth Century compression chambers, which had been used to prepare divers for the great pressures under the sea. Three Eathmen, given strong doses of adaptene, had gone from chamber to chamber. Leaden suits were prepared for them and weight added day by day. Their metabolism had faithfully undergone the necessary changes! At the end of three months, they had reached the final conditioning room, which practically duplicated Jupiterís conditions. Their sluns had become tough and heat-resisting. Their lungs filtered out methane, ammonia and bromine automatically, retaining only the neceasary oxygen. Their muscles, motivated by superactive adrenalin, easily supported five hundred pounds of weight without tiring. All this through the magic touch of adaptene, working in its mysterious way throughout every cell and vein.

Technovelgy from The Impossible World, by Eando Binder.
Published by Startling Stories in 1939
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