An algae to be cultivated and consumed on Mars . Scientists have been working on it for a long time, but now there is a perhaps crucial step: an international patent born in Sardinia with a kit that can simulate the habitat of the red planet in the laboratory . And which therefore allows us to study, even on our planet, what happens to the microalgae, spirulina, grown in the absence of gravity and oxygen.

The University of Sassari, the Center for Research, Development and Higher Studies in Sardinia (CRS4), the Aerospace District of Sardinia (DASS), the University of Cagliari and the Tolo Green company have filed the patent application in Europe, United States, Russia, China, Japan and India.

Thanks to long and patient team work it was possible to develop a fertile cultivation medium for the spirulina algae.

At almost zero gravity, achieved through a special instrument called a clinostat equipped to simulate the Martian atmosphere, spirulina algae grows and can serve the dual purpose of feeding astronauts and generating oxygen, using the Martian atmosphere saturated with CO2. This would therefore allow the limitation of the material to be transported on the Earth-Mars journey using elements available on site such as atmospheric CO2, Martian soil and astronauts' urine.

«From Sardinia - explains Giacomo Cao , sole director of CRS4 and president of the Sardinian aerospace district - a precious team effort». For Gavino Mariotti , rector of the University of Sassari, the international patent «is the culmination of a long research activity», while for Francesco Mola , rector of the University of Cagliari «being part of a team featuring leading companies in the sector high tech and public and private institutions, confirms the importance of transversal skills."


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