Research

Space Florida researching algae cultivation prospects on Mars

February 7, 2014
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Deborah Wells, vice president of process development for Neuprene, explores algae as a substitute for petroleum in the near future.

Deborah Wells, vice president of process development for Neuprene, explores algae as a substitute for petroleum in the near future.

Matthew Richardson of the Orlando Business Journal writes that deep within the Space Life Science Lab near Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is a Mars simulation chamber, high-tech plant incubators and liters upon liters of green and blue algae. This comprises one of many cutting-edge research projects housed in a 109,000-square-foot lab complex that’s all about space, incorporating 145 offices and cubicles, 29 science labs and eight hardware labs; five conference rooms and seven environmental growth chambers.

Space Florida was created as a special district that uniquely serves as the single point of contact for all space-related functions of the State of Florida, and serves the civil, military and commercial sectors as well.

In Deborah Wells’ lab, the vice president of process development for Indialantic-based Neuprene is exploring algae’s potential. Around the lab are several large flasks and 20-liter carboys each holding a bubbling green liquid being researched as a petroleum substitute used to create everyday items. “We found a biological technology that will produce the same chemical so you can make tires, gloves and water bottles,” she says. “The chemical comes from a biological organism instead of making it from petroleum.”

Andrew Schuerger, a University of Florida aerobiology and Mars astrobiology professor, has created a mini Mars simulation chamber – the only one in Florida. “It’s a very capable instrument,” Schuerger said of the chamber he spent 10 years building. “It can recreate five conditions on the surface of Mars. It’s a pressure chamber so it can pump down to the low atmospheric pressure on the surface of Mars.”

The $2.5 million grant-funded chamber also can imitate the ultra-harsh ultraviolet radiation of Mars, which is 1,000 times more aggressive than Earth’s due to the lack of an ozone layer. The purpose of this device is to test the survival of microorganisms on Mars’ surface and, according to his research, a few can stand the intense pressure, but none so far can withstand the ultraviolet rays.

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2014 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated that just two of six iron-sulfur-containing ferredoxins in a represent...
Algae.Tec Ltd has received its first purchase order from Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), in connection with the arrangements announced on Ja...
Algae is being discussed at the heart of EXPO Milano 2015, the international event that has existed since 1851, spawning world shaping themes and icons, such as the Eiffe...
Libourne, France-based Fermentalg, an industrial biotechnology company that specializes in the production of oils and proteins derived from microalgae, has completed a su...
A series of articles by Stephen Mayfield and the UCSD Laboratory deserve recognition for their articles on algae-based medicines for malaria and cancer. Mayfield and his ...
Although the use of whole microalgae in animal diets has long been studied, the 
de-fatted biomass of microalgal species, derived from biofuel production research, has on...
By sending algae into space, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his team will be able to study some of the key mechanisms that control plant growth and...
In Phys.Org, Yu Yonehara notes the breakthrough research from the Tokyo Institute of Technology on the connection between early marine algae and the development of terres...
A new, outdoor system at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been producing a high volume of algae since its installation in the summer of 2013, even through ...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
Algae Industry Magazine is pleased to announce a new Algae 101 series by our popular blogger, Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University. The Algae Solutions to Na...
Algae manufacturer Cyanotech Corporation has announced implementing three major initiatives to improve Astaxanthin production at their Kailua Kona, Hawaii-based cultivati...
Perth, Western Australia-based Algae.Tec Limited has announced that the Reliance Group has converted the first tranche of options following the positive progress achieved...
In an effort to propel the algae industry forward, the Algae Testbed Public Private Partnership (ATP3) offers a series of hands-on specialized workshops suited for partic...
Following a request from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was recently asked t...
Bookending the upcoming Algae Biomass Summit, Sept. 29-Oct.2 in San Diego, will be industry tours to give attendees a first-hand look at the latest progress in technical ...
The EPA has released the Annual Use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report. We now know that American farmers apply roughly a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally in...
Expanding from its initial work in algal biofuels, General Atomic’s (GA’s) Advanced Biological Processes team has focused on the rising need for food globally, specifical...