From the deep sea to the stars: human life support through minimal communities

Larissa Hendrickx, Max Mergeay

    Research outputpeer-review


    Support of human life during long-distance exploratory space travel or in the creation of human habitats in extreme environments can be accomplished using the action of microbial consortia inhabiting interconnected bioreactors, designed for the purpose of reconversion of solid, liquid and gaseous wastes produced by the human crew or by one of the compartments of the bioregenerative loop, into nutritional biomass, oxygen and potable water. The microorganisms responsible for bioregenerative life support are part of Earth’s own geomicrobial reconversion cycle. Depending on the resources and conditions available, minimal life support systems can be assembled using appropriately selected microorganisms that possess metabolic routes for each specific purpose in the transformation cycle. Under control of an engineered system, a reliable life-support system can hence be provided for.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-237
    JournalCurrent opinion in microbiology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 5 Jun 2007

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