Possible scenarios to cultivate cyanobacteria on the Moon for life support

Tom Schokaert, Felice Mastroleo

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    For the first time, the possibility of cultivating the cyanobacterium, Arthrospira, on the Moon, is discussed. In the first part of the thesis the necessity of a Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS), such as MELiSSA, and the use of cyanobacteria for space exploration is explained. In the second part of the thesis the different hostile environmental factors on the surface of the Moon are described. Some areas on the Moon would be more favourable than others and consequently, the main goal of this thesis is to explore a suitable location to implement a photobioreactor with Arthrospira. It was concluded that, when the photobioreactor is implemented below the surface, possible harmful factors such as radiation, temperature variance, meteorites and abrasive regolith could be mitigated. In an optimal scenario the photobioreactor is powered by solar energy, collected by a mast with solar panels. A location on the South Pole would be best to collect as much sunlight as possible. A timing of the mission when the South Pole finds itself in the summer season, would provide most favourable temperatures. In a scenario where the photobioreactor is powered by a nuclear energy source, other locations could be more useful.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • KU Leuven
    • Baatout, Sarah, Supervisor
    • Leys, Natalie, Supervisor
    Place of PublicationLeuven, Belgium
    StatePublished - 26 Aug 2013

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