For decades, sci-fi shows and movies have developed various theories about how future on Moon and Mars could be like, but the reality may be not only strange but also more 'greener'. For a while now, NASA has been exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi for them to become future homes on stars. This may even perhaps lead us to have more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well.
NASA's Ames research centre at Silicon Valley, California has been prototyping technologies that could grow habitats on the Moon, Mars, and beyond out of life things like fungi and mycelia.
It's #NationalBiotechnologyMonth! We're using biotech for new space solutions. @NASAAmes is researching how to "grow" planetary habitats out of fungi. It's an early-stage concept for the Moon, Mars & possibly sustainable construction methods on Earth, too: https://t.co/5118gC09XW— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) January 14, 2020
Talking about the research, NASA's principal project investigator Lynn Rothschild stated that the initial habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle. He also stated that the idea of carrying our homes on our backs is a reliable idea but it comes with huge energy costs.
The project aims for a future where human explorers can carry with them a compact habitat built out of lightweight material with dormant fungi that will last on long journeys to places like Mars. By following a basic structure and adding water to it, the fungi will be able to grow around the designed framework into a fully functional human habitat. The habitat will also be designed in a way that it will not contaminate the environment and habitat on Mars.
NASA's mission is supported through its innovative advanced concepts program and comes under the field of synthetic biology. NASA in its article also states that it is still a very long way from creating livable habitats for Mars, but it is in the phase of its early-stage research by currently experimenting with fungi.
(with inputs from agencies)