Fungi can make soil from asteroids and homes on Mars

Shevtsov sees this technique as particularly useful in the context of aerospace, as the remaining asteroid rocks can be used to create soil. But similar paths can be found in

Shevtsov is working on a proposal to support the growth of regolithic plants on Mars. As an ecosystem, he focused on building and maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the air and wanted to achieve that by combining many types – bacteria that break down toxins, substances. plants provide a carbon source for bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi that support the growth of plants. . Part of that work now is learning how to use light, temperature and other biological signals to promote photosynthesis or respiration according to the needs of the ecosystem.

Building a house

When it comes to astronauts living on another planet, however, we have the same problem as before; taking your home with you in the open – what astrobiologist Lynn J. Rothschild calls the “turtle approach” – takes a lot of weight. Instead of hiring that builder, what if you could grow your home once you got there?

In another NASA project, Rothschild is looking at how we can build houses out of fungal mycelium, long rope -like structures formed by haloes in a mattress. She and her co -workers are working to make a weave out of the mycelium that grows in all the different ways they want. The main goal is to build houses and other activities, using a Rothschild -modeled house with a hollow hut: A layer of fungal mycelia as a fence. , and an outer layer to prevent fungi from crawling on the Red Earth’s surface. or the Moon.

“You have to worry about the planet Earth, especially on Mars, because there is always life there, so we are governed by all sorts of rules about where things are stored. on earth, “said Rothschild. “It’s a huge scientific disaster if there’s another kind of life out there that we don’t know about because we’ve melted living things and we can’t tell what we are and what they are.”

It’s like historical science, but the research has been going on for years. In 2018, Rothschild led a group of students who developed a “mycotecture,” or fungal laboratory, a program for the iGEM synthetic biology competition. The company is working with restaurant Azurmendi in Spain to design tables, chairs, menus and other utensils made from the mycelium – to bring this technology back to normal. the world. The researchers will first move on by testing their mycotecture on planetary simulators, to see how they travel under different forms of gravity and radiation.

Ultimately, however, Rothschild is optimistic that fungi will soon begin to cut out of the ground: on walls, furniture, and shells for rovers. “It doesn’t take 15 years of genetic technology to do it,” he said. “We know what needs to be done, it’s to make sure it’s working under the conditions that you see outside of Earth and then to make sure NASA is confident that this will prevent the they’re rovers or astronauts. “

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