Genesis device

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Carol and David programming the device.
The Genesis device was a device intended for terraforming entire planets. The device was developed by Drs. Carol and David Marcus on board the Federation spacestation Regula 1. They sent a detailed proposal of their intended research project to the Federation to receive the resources they would need for their research, which included the starship USS Reliant. The video proposal outlined the benefits to the Federation which included new planets for colonies and agriculture to alleviate the problems of overcrowding and food supply.
Computer simulation of the Genesis effect
The project was to proceed in three stages. Stage one was conducted in a lab. Stage two was conducted in a lifeless underground cavern. Reliant was to search for a lifeless planet for stage three while the scientists put the finishing touches on their research and development. Unfortunately, Reliant got its planets mixed up and was hijacked by Khan.

As with most pieces of miracle technology in fiction, it has a horrible downside. Spock speculates that it would destroy any life in the area of its effect. David confirms that it could be perverted into a terrible weapon. Khan learned of the project from a mind-controlled Pavel Checkov and added stealing the device to his objectives in addition to seeking revenge on Admiral Kirk. The devastating potential become a subject of great controversy in the quadrant, with the Klingons doing everything from launching protests against the project to trying to steal it for themselves in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

The Genesis torpedo building up power to detonation
Khan eventually steals the device. After a second battle with Kirk, where Reliant was severely damaged, Khan activated the device, hoping to take Kirk down with him.
The Genesis Planet
The device detonates inside the Mutara nebula, destroying the Reliant. The device forms a new planet, named "Genesis" and the system is subsequently quarantined because of the previously mentioned controversy. However, the planet proves unstable and eventually destroys itself. David Marcus is killed by the Klingons trying to steal the secrets of the device and the knowledge behind the technology is lost as a result.