Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that can develop structures from fungi to become our future homes in stars, and perhaps even more sustainable ways of living on Earth. Creating a habitable home for future astronauts means more than moving the roof to go over their heads.
The US Space Agency said in a statement that astronauts would need to meet all their basic needs, like Earth, and face the additional challenges of living in a harsh environment in a harsh environment.
With this in mind, the myco-architecture project outside NASA’s Ames Research Center in California is prototype technology that can develop “habitats” beyond the moon, Mars, and life – specifically, fungi and unseen underground threads. dresses. The main part of the fungus, known as mycelia.
“Right now, traditional housing designs for Mars are like a turtle – taking our homes with us on its back – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs,” said Lynn Rothschild, the lead investigator for the early-stage project.
“Instead, we can use mycelia (the botanical part of a fungus) to grow these habitats when we get there”.
In the end, the project envisions a future where human explorers can bring a compact habitat built from a clear material containing dormant fungi that will go on long journeys to places such as Mars.
Upon arrival, by revealing that basic structure and simply adding water, the fungus will be able to grow around that structure into fully functional human habitat – all while safely contained within the habitat to avoid contaminating the Martian environment. being done.
Mycelia are small threads that form complex structures with extreme precision, networking into large structures such as mushrooms.
With the right conditions, they can be mobilized to create new structures – from a leather-like material to building blocks for Mars’ habitat.
The last layer of mycelia is one that organically grows into a strong home, first activated to grow in a contained environment and then baked to kill lifelines – providing structural integrity and ensuring that No Mars and no microorganism contaminate life.
Even if some mycelia survived somehow, they would be genetically altered to be unable to survive outside the habitat, NASA said.
Mycelia can also be used for water filtration and biomining systems that can extract minerals from wastewater – another project active in the Rothschild Lab – as well as bioluminescent lighting capable of self-healing, humidity regulation and even That also self-producing housing. And with about 40% of carbon emissions coming to Earth from construction, there is also a growing need for sustainable and affordable housing.