Toward sustainable space exploration: a roadmap for harnessing the power of microorganisms

Rosa Santomartino*, Nils J.H. Averesch, Marufa Bhuiyan, Charles S. Cockell, Jesse Colangelo, Yosephine Gumulya, Benjamin Lehner, Ivanna Lopez-Ayala, Sean McMahon, Anurup Mohanty, Sergio R. Santa Maria, Camilla Urbaniak, Rik Volger, Jiseon Yang, Luis Zea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Finding sustainable approaches to achieve independence from terrestrial resources is of pivotal importance for the future of space exploration. This is relevant not only to establish viable space exploration beyond low Earth–orbit, but also for ethical considerations associated with the generation of space waste and the preservation of extra-terrestrial environments. Here we propose and highlight a series of microbial biotechnologies uniquely suited to establish sustainable processes for in situ resource utilization and loop-closure. Microbial biotechnologies research and development for space sustainability will be translatable to Earth applications, tackling terrestrial environmental issues, thereby supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1391
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Biotechnology
  • Earth, Planet
  • Space Flight


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward sustainable space exploration: a roadmap for harnessing the power of microorganisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this