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
Heliae, SCHOTT North America and Arizona State University (ASU) have announced a partnership to bring Heliae’s algae production technology to ASU’s algae testbed facility...
The University of Greenwich is leading a €10m international project, called the ‘D-Factory,’ to build a biorefinery to develop the microalga Dunaliella as a sustainable r...
Valensa International and Contract Biotics have announced that Contract Biotics has started construction of an additional six acres of algae production units at the compa...
“Proterro has reached its Q1 sugar-production pilot milestones,” CEO Kef Kasdin reported at the recent Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference, in Washington, D.C. “In fo...
Yereth Rosen reports in the Anchorage Daily News that scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute have found extremely high levels o...
Algenist®, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare brand featuring microalgae, has announced its launch in Nordstrom locations throughout the United States. The launch into Nordst...
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 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...
The Guardian reports that Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada-based Solarvest has created an inventive system utilizing a specific algal strain to grow and produce EPA ...
Kyae Mone Win reports in the Myanmar Times that spirulina has been harvested from Twin Daung lake in Sagaing’s Bu Ta Lin township for over a decade, but climate change an...
Starting in the early 70s, agencies in the former USSR invested more than 20,000 person-years of research and development to produce Bio-Algae Concentrates (BAC) that hel...
Matthew Carr was recently named executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the leading trade association for the algae industry. His presence will soon b...
Channelnewsasia.com reports on three young Spaniards who harvest seaweed, a culinary delicacy, as a way for them to stay out of Spain’s troubled financial waters. 35-year...
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 ...
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...
Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement f...
SCHOTT AG, of Mitterteich, Germany, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), based at Israel’s Kibbutz Ketura, have signed an R&D agreement to strengthen their partnersh...