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Sustainable life support on Mars – the potential roles of cyanobacteria

Verseux, C. and Baqué, M. and Lehto, K. and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Rothschild, Lynn J. and Billi, D. (2015) Sustainable life support on Mars – the potential roles of cyanobacteria. International Journal of Astrobiology. Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/S147355041500021X. ISSN 1473-5504.

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Even though technological advances could allow humans to reach Mars in the coming decades, launch costs prohibit the establishment of permanent manned outposts for which most consumables would be sent from Earth. This issue can be addressed by in situ resource utilization: producing part or all of these consumables on Mars, from local resources. Biological components are needed, among other reasons because various resources could be efficiently produced only by the use of biological systems. But most plants and microorganisms are unable to exploit Martian resources, and sending substrates from Earth to support their metabolism would strongly limit the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of their cultivation. However, resources needed to grow specific cyanobacteria are available on Mars due to their photosynthetic abilities, nitrogen-fixing activities and lithotrophic lifestyles. They could be used directly for various applications, including the production of food, fuel and oxygen, but also indirectly: products from their culture could support the growth of other organisms, opening the way to a wide range of life-support biological processes based on Martian resources. Here we give insights into how and why cyanobacteria could play a role in the development of self-sustainable manned outposts on Mars.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/98837/
Document Type:Article
Title:Sustainable life support on Mars – the potential roles of cyanobacteria
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Verseux, C.Department of Biology, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Baqué, M.Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Lehto, K.Department of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology, University of Turku, Turku, FinlandUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Rothschild, Lynn J.Earth Sciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Billi, D.Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Date:June 2015
Journal or Publication Title:International Journal of Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1017/S147355041500021X
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Keywords:cyanobacteria; in situ resource utilization (ISRU); life-support systems; Mars exploration; space technologies; synthetic biology
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Exploration of the Solar System
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:17 Nov 2015 13:44
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:55

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