NASA dreams of one day building houses for human astronauts on Mars, but it’s clearly not easy to transport tons of building materials from Earth to the red planet. To collect building materials on Mars sites, NASA has been actively exploring interesting ideas, such as watering and growing mushrooms on Mars. The agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) project has provided MYCO with feasibility study funding.
(Pictured: 2018 Stanford-Brown-RISD iGEM Team)
“These tiny fisites have constructed complex structures with extreme precision and are connected to larger structures such as mushrooms,” NASA said in a statement Tuesday.
The idea is for fungi to grow on the moon and even Mars, and then use mycelium to build larger structures. The agency also showed a concept video describing the habitat.
Self-replicating Self-repairing Planetary HabitatMade of Fungus (via)
The habitat concept includes a three-story dome building consisting of water ice on the outside, with the blue bacteria in the middle responsible for producing oxygen and providing nutrients. The lining of the mycelium grows around the frame and eventually builds a home to Mars.
In order to preserve the structural integrity and to ensure that any known microbes on Mars are not contaminated by life forms on Earth, these fungi will be completely inactivated after being used.
(As part of the 2018 experiment, mycelium grows on faeces)
Although the study is still in its early stages, it shows how scientists are trying to open up the living environment for future humans. In fact, researchers have tested the idea as early as 2018. First after two weeks of growth, then baking and treating.
Lynn Rothschild, lead researcher at NIAC Microarchitecture, said: “In space design, we are free to experiment with new ideas and materials than on Earth. After applying it in other worlds, it may well be brought back to Earth.”