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Posted by on Oct 7, 2012 in Science |

Nasa colonize Mars using bacteria for production of building materials

Nasa colonize Mars using bacteria for production of building materials

It is a fact, eventually colonize Mars. But we must first solve a small problem: We will not send bricks or cement construction to over 56 million miles because they are too heavy materials. To fix this, is already working on design to manufacture building materials.

The Synthetic Biology Initiative at NASA is working on various microorganisms so we can use them to colonize Mars. For this they use a ‘toolbox’ biological, consisting of a bunch of genes called ‘BioBricks’, which when inserted into microbes, they perform a specific function as antifreeze generate .

While the atmosphere of can be a problem due to their high amount of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, there is an old call cyanobacteria Anabaena able to live comfortably in those conditions, provided that it be protected from ultraviolet radiation.

Much of the energy generated while processing the CO2 and nitrogen is consumed by bacteria, but I found a method-inserting genetic material from E. coli – for the Anabaena excrete sugars that could sustain of other bacteria, which in turn could be used to build oil, plastics or fuel for astronauts.

For example, a team led by Andre Burnier found a way to create bricks and cement with microorganisms: Begin taking a called Sporosarcina pasteurii, which has the ability to process the urea (from urine) and turn it into ammonia.

This gives sufficient alkaline properties to the environment of Mars to form calcium carbonate, limestone and better known as one of the essential elements to make cement. So, the astronauts will waste to make cement on Mars.

The team confirmed through experiments that a ‘brick’ generated for two weeks by the Sporosarcina pasteurii can have the hardness of a concrete brick. He also managed to isolate the genetic component of the bacteria to create a ‘bioladrillo’, which can be inserted into the E. coli to realize the same functions as the Sporosarcina pasteurii.

That if you are cautious about contaminate Mars with terrestrial microorganisms, for what they believe will take decades before sending the first colonies of bacteria, using currently only robotic missions.

Link: Build a foundation Mars with a box of engineered bugs (New Scientist)

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