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Algae that generate food and oxygen: the future of space conquest



Algae that generate food and oxygen: the future of space conquest


Astronauts will be able to be self sufficient thanks to a bioreactor that works with algae. *Chlorella vulgaris* recycles CO2 and converts it into oxygen and biomass, which can be consumed as food.

Space travel tries to reach remote points of the galaxy to better understand the universe in which we live. Therefore, the trips have durations extremely long due to the distances between the celestial bodies.

The kilometers to be traveled prevent the space missions they are carried out by astronauts and, instead, robots or satellites better prepared to travel long distances are sent.

One of the reasons that prevents astronauts from staying longer in space is their provisionsboth food and oxygen. In order to extend the missions, a bioreactor has been created that allows create oxygen and food.

The bioreactor works thanks to algaeand it’s called Photobioreactor. The device was moved on May 6 to the International Space Station (ISS), which will allow its astronauts to survive longer without the need to recharge in the earth.

To transport the Photobioreactor, a load of SpaceX Dragon was used, a reusable spacecraft, developed by the private American company SpaceXcapable of carrying cargo into low Earth orbit.

The astronauts produce carbon dioxide that the algae absorb through their photosynthesis processto convert it to oxygen and biomass.

The type of algae that has moved into space is Chlorella vulgaris, a species of microscopic algae that not only produces oxygen, it also produces a nutritional biomass that astronauts can feed on.

The Photobioreactor will be added to the Advanced Closed Loop System (ACLS), the recycling system of the International Space Station. It is an advanced closed loop life support system for the ISS that purifies the air and produces oxygen.

The system also get water following the purification of air and oxygen. Airbus developed this device a little over a year ago and it began to be used in the summer of 2018.