Using Photosynthesis for Martian Occupation – While Making Space Travel More Sustainable

Researchers are working on sustainable technology to harvest solar power in space – which could supplement life support systems on the Moon and Mars.

In a study published in Nature Communications, scientists assess a new technique which could convert renewable, green energy from outside the Earth’s atmosphere. They are taking advantage of photosynthesis – the chemical process plants undergo every day to create energy – to help the space industry become more sustainable.

The research led by the University of Warwick evaluates the use of a special device known as semiconductor to absorb sunlight on Moon and Mars. It is hoped that the devices could promote Martian life support systems.

These “artificial photosynthesis devices” undergo the same processes which keeps plants alive on Earth – they convert water into oxygen using only sunlight whilst recycling carbon dioxide. These integrated systems have the advantage of directly using solar power and could save on weight on long-term space travels in comparison to traditional systems currently in use on the International Space Station – making space travel more efficient.

There is a need for efficient and reliable energy sources in space to enable the exploration of our solar system. It is hoped that the technology could be installed on the Moon and Mars to harvest green energy to help power rockets and complement life support systems for the production of oxygen and other chemicals as well as the recycling of carbon dioxide. The insights gained in this study with respect to improving device efficiencies also feed back into their optimization for Earth applications and also provide insights into the performance of traditional solar cells in space.

Assistant Professor Katharina Brinkert, Department of Chemistry, said: “Human space exploration faces the same challenges as the green energy transition on Earth: both require sustainable energy sources. With sunlight being so abundantly available in space, we have shown how this source could be used to harvest energy – much like plants back on Earth – for life support systems for long-term space travel. The technology could provide ample oxygen production and carbon dioxide recycling on both Moon and Mars.”

Associate Professor Sophia Haussener, at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, added: “In this study, we finally quantify the potential of such devices for extra-terrestrial use and provide initial design guidelines for their potential implementation.”

1 Comment
  1. Before anything can be done the infrastructure needs to be developed on site and as much as possible in the flight to the mars. As the space trip to the moon is nowhere near as long. Which could then be taken planet side during the initial landing phase once a suitable location is found prior to the expedition to mars. Either a single person to use as the test subject to help set up the bare bones of the main research colony or a group to develop the site.
    With the single person using artificial robotic assistance, via deep space satellite assistance to help ensure the data lag is kept to an absolute minimum. Many other better thought out plans can be given, but without the proper ground work and infrastructure. There is no way of getting things off the ground in a timely fashion let alone increasing the odds of survival so far from our home planet.
    Power is important, artificial photosynthesis is vital but without the proper infrastructure and the necessary ground work done first. It will as it has been just talk, no show and no action and just empty words said by even emptier people. Trust in one thing there are people willing to leave this planet just to get away from the near constant crush and insanity.
    With the knowledge that there is no help once they get past the point of no return or recourse. Whom are willing to be a part of something bigger than themselves and do not wish fame or fortune. Let alone be remembered for their very real sacrifice in order to push the limit of our current abilities in order to make a future for the nameless and faceless. Multitudes that will go beyond them into the black darkness of the future to come.
    Yet lesser petty people keep on focusing on the what is right in front of their faces. Instead of the bigger picture from beyond the horizon and into the future. Real world issues will never be resolved over night or in the next 100 years, but the future on a remote world where fresh starts can be realized. Yet none consider the first true steps are within their grasp and can launch the species truly into the stars and space beyond our world.
    Without the brave individuals or individual willing to take the chance into most certain death. No battle for the future can ever be won and the crush of the meek, the cowardly, the bean counters will always. Hold sway over them which is why only the brave win the battles and they always lose them and put too many into their early graves.
    All to save a copper penny worth twice its own value, while the penny pinchers keep the very basics from being done. Keeping the ground work and the infrastructure from being done and the future from being made possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2024 Space & Planetary News Wire. Use Our Intel. All Rights Reserved. Washington, D.C.