(Black Press Media file photo)

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Future homes for humans in space might be made of mushrooms.

While films and novels imagine the future of humankind to be filled with machines, NASA is taking on a greener approach to things.

The agency is exploring technology that could grow structures, and even homes, out of fungi.

The myco-architecture project, coming from NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California’s Silicon Valley, is making prototypes of technology that would be capable of growing habitats on the moon and Mars.

“Right now, traditional habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle – carrying our homes with us on our backs – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs,” said Lynn Rothschild in a NASA news release. Rothschild is the principal investigator on the project. “Instead, we can harness mycelia to grow these habitats ourselves when we get there.”

READ ALSO: Participants from UVic head out for NASA-sponsored Mars simulation

Mycelia is what makes up the main part of the fungus and according to NASA, can make new structures with the right conditions.

So what would these homes look like? The project imagines human explorers carrying a compact habitat built out of a lightweight material with dormant fungi that would last on a long journey to places like Mars. By unfolding the structure and adding water, the fungi would be able to grow around the structure’s framework into a human habitat, all without contaminating the Martian environment.

NASA’s myco-architecture project won’t just design a shell, it will design a home that has its own ecosystem. The human habitat would have three layers. The outermost layer is made up of ice to serve as protection from radiation. The second layer would take water from the ice and photosynthesize, using outside light that shines through the outer layer to produce oxygen for humans and nutrients for the third layer of the home. The third layer would actually grow into a sturdy home, baked to kill the lifeforms, avoid contamination on Mars and provide structural integrity.

READ ALSO: How much do you know about the moon?

According to NASA, this technology has the potential to come back to Earth as well in order to design green and sustainable living solutions on this planet.

“When we design for space, we’re free to experiment with new ideas and materials with much more freedom than we would on Earth,” Rothschild said. “And after these prototypes are designed for other worlds, we can bring them back to ours.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore grieves loss of a ‘bright light’

Scott Manning was a well-known principal, friend and community member

T’Sou-ke First Nation mired in legal woes over gas station development

Claims and counterclaims leave sub-contractors unpaid

Quadriplegic Saanich man seeks continuity of home care from Island Health

Island Health took over home care services in November

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Most Read