Edinburgh Research Explorer

The Role of Synthetic Biology for In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

  • Michael Montague
  • George H. McArthur
  • Charles S. Cockell
  • Jason Held
  • William Marshall
  • Louis A. Sherman
  • Norman Wang
  • Wayne L. Nicholson
  • Daniel R. Tarjan
  • John Cumbers

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1142
Number of pages8
JournalAstrobiology
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Abstract

A persistent presence in space can either be supported from Earth or generate the required resources for human survival from material already present in space, so called "in situ material.'' Likely, many of these resources such as water or oxygen can best be liberated from in situ material by conventional physical and chemical processes. However, there is one critical resource required for human life that can only be produced in quantity by biological processes: high-protein food. Here, recent data concerning the materials available on the Moon and common asteroid types is reviewed with regard to the necessary materials to support the production of food from material in situ to those environments. These materials and their suitability as feedstock for the biological production of food are reviewed in a broad and general way such that terminology that is often a barrier to understanding such material by interdisciplinary readers is avoided. The waste products available as in situ materials for feasibility studies on the International Space Station are also briefly discussed. The conclusion is that food production in space environments from in situ material proven to exist there is quite feasible. Key Words: Astrobiology-Asteroid-Biomineralogy-Cyanobacteria. Astrobiology 12, 1135-1142.

    Research areas

  • EXTRATERRESTRIAL MATERIALS, IRON-METEORITES, CARBON SOURCE, LIFE-SUPPORT, WATER-ICE, SPACE, GROWTH, PHOTOSYNTHESIS, EFFICIENCY, NUTRIENTS

ID: 25221746