During long-term space missions, crew members of space ships will have to grow food, because the delivery from Earth would be impossible. They will be important to diversify the diet, as to eat one potato as the character of Matt Damon from the movie “the Martian”, it is unlikely that someone will want. Researchers from the International space station have started an experiment in order to find out whether they will be able to grow, eat and get oxygen from the algae. Think this is quite possible.
For growing algae, they will use the photobioreactor, which was delivered to the station on may 6 inside the cargo ship SpaceX Dragon. It is believed that it will help the astronauts will receive not only nutritious biomass that can be 30% of the diet future space missions, but also an additional source of pure oxygen. For these purposes, by the way, are great algae Chlorella vulgaris, which will be grown inside the biological reactor.
It is expected that the device will work in conjunction with physico-chemical air recirculation system and technology ACLS for processing carbon dioxide into oxygen. Basically oxygen to the ISS is extracted by electrolysis delivered on cargo ships, water — the resulting hydrogen is subsequently discharged into the space. Due to algae and other technologies of formation of oxygen, agencies will be able to deliver 400 liters less water, or use this amount for other purposes.
If the experiment succeeds and the device will prove its effectiveness, the technology will be widely applied in manned moon exploration and colonization of Mars. During these missions, the delivery of products from Earth will be impossible, and it is not only a great distance, but also in increased volume of cargo. That’s why researchers are so actively engaged in the creation of a closed life support system, where delivery of food and water is simply not needed.
It is noteworthy that in the cargo ship SpaceX Dragon was also delivered materials to slow oxidative processes in the cells of astronauts. It is believed that someday they will be on the basis of a drug that eliminates the effects of the prolonged stay in microgravity. More information can be read in our material.