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
Hammenhög, Sweden-based agribusiness Simris Alg has announced the launch of its first consumer products. The algae farmers’ exclusive omega-3 supplements and superfoods w...
The European (FP7) algae project Sustainable PoLymers from Algae Sugars and Hydrocarbons (SPLASH) has been developing a platform technology for the conversion of third ge...
In one of the first studies to examine the potential for using municipal wastewater as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, Rice University scientists found they could e...
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms. EPA res...
Algae.Tec has announced a collaboration agreement for the commercialization of its algae production technology with Larimar Energy SRL, of the Dominican Republic. The ene...
Murdoch University researchers are investigating whether the effluent from piggeries can be effectively treated with micro- and macroalgae so that species of the organism...
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has named Solazyme CEO and co-founder Jonathan S. Wolfson as the recipient of its 2015 George Washington Carver Award for in...
While aquafarmers in Maine have been harvesting seaweed for nearly 80 years, for a variety of uses and products, in recent years wild harvests have not been able to meet ...
Natacha Tatu writes in Worldcrunch about a 72-year old French chef who has taken on the challenge of bringing spirulina to the malnourished youth of the Central Africa. F...
Earthrise Nutritionals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo, Japan’s DIC Corporation, is on schedule to complete construction in August, 2015, of a new extraction plant fo...
Studies conducted by EnAlgae partners in Ireland, France and Belgium point the way to seaweed being a viable and sustainable feedstock for the future in North West Europe...
Biocrude oil obtained from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of algae can be an energy-efficient replacement for the fossil crude oil normally used in the production of fue...
Algiran, an Iranian algal biotech company, has recently established a pilot scale algal cultivation demonstration facility at the Chabahar Free Zone, in the Baluchistan P...
Bigelow Laboratory, of East Boothbay, Maine, and the University of Mississippi have formed a five-year Strategic Inter-Institutional Partnership Agreement for collaborati...
The demand for spirulina as a natural food colorant is robust in the North America food processing industry, according to a new study by market intelligence firm Future M...