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Living on Another Planet

BARCELONA, Spain (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When it comes to space travel, man has made leaps and bounds, but one thing they haven't conquered yet is living in space. With frozen water on it, mars is a likely planet to inhabit, but it takes nine months to get there from earth, making it difficult to supply astronauts with adequate supplies. But now, researchers in Spain are creating an artificial ecosystem to support life in outer space.

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Man has walked on the moon, launched an international space station, and explored the surface of mars. What's next? Space researchers are working towards colonizing on another planet. Now, biotechnologists in Barcelona, Spain, are bringing us one step closer to that reality.

"For that you need to recreate the basic function for life support," Francesc Godia Director of the Melissa Pilot Plant at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, explained to Ivanhoe. "You need to breath you need to drink water, you need to eat food, and you also need to process the waste that you are generating."

This lab houses a regenerative life support system that could one day allow humans to live on mars. Its' compartments mimic the earth's own ecosystem.

"On earth, in an ecological system you have number of microorganisms," Godia said "They will collaborate one to each other in order to provide the basic functions for life support."

First, bacteria break down waste from the crew. The remaining gasses are then turned into oxygen and fertilizer to grow crops. In turn, those crops produce more oxygen for the crew.

While it's not yet being used in space, the technology developed through this research has already been put to use here on earth. It's helping to produce wine in Spain and clean wastewater throughout Europe.

It's technology that's helping man get one step closer to a life that's out of this world.

More than 30 organizations from 11 countries have contributed to the development of the Melissa Pilot Plant in Barcelona. Work on the project started in 1995. They hope to complete it and start using the technology in space by 2030.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Octavi Lopez
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
+34 93 581 3301
Octavi.Lopez@uab.cat

Arnaud Fossen
+34 93 581 26 17
Arnaud.Fossen@uab.cat


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