Astronauts are about to start testing out a new device called a “Photobioreactor,” which uses living algae to convert carbon dioxide to breathable oxygen and produce edible food.
The bioreactor arrived at the International Space station ISS and soon it will be used in concert with another closed loop life support system that converts carbon dioxide to useable methane and water.
If all goes well, astronauts on future missions to deep space will get more than a viable source of oxygen the protein-rich algae could someday make up as much as 30 percent of an astronaut’s diet.
“With the first demonstration of the hybrid approach, we are right at the forefront when it comes to the future of life-support systems,” Oliver Angerer, the German scientist leading the project, said.
“Of course, the use of these photobioreactor is interesting primarily for planetary base stations or for very long missions. But these technologies will not be available when needed if the foundations are not laid today.”