NASA presents self-sustaining houses project on Mars

NASA scientists could be evaluating other possibilities for human life on Mars; a bit different from modern houses made of glass or metal as seen in most science fiction series and movies. NASA plans to build houses made of mushrooms for astronauts. The researchers say that fungal filaments have a regenerative capacity that would solve long-term damage suffered that happens to all types of housings, especially a base located in space.

Other materials that would have been proposed before were clay, concrete and glass bricks but these aren’t as eco-friendly. Besides, these filaments can be used for larger proportion structures. The discovery is of utmost importance as it would present viable options for sustainable homes on Earth. «When we design for space, we are free to experiment with new ideas and materials with much more freedom than on Earth. After these prototypes are designed for other worlds, we can bring them back to ours,» said Lynn Rothschild, one of the main researchers of the project.

Likewise, the main advantage of mushrooms is that they are light weighted, so they are easier to transport to Mars. They also withstand long trips and they only would need to add water and replant them on the red planet. It will be expected to acquire the size to shelter a person without generating environmental pollution. This will be possible by photosynthesis, which is the process of capturing solar energy to convert it into water and carbon dioxide into oxygen, so the fungi can nourish itself and expand. This new technology has been named synthetic biology, which is used to design bodies reusing other organisms for a new function. At the moment, the project is experimental, but NASA has already created a stool made of mushrooms in just two weeks, which would demonstrate how quickly the material acts.