Algae Farming in Low Earth Orbit: Past Present and Future

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N. Morrison (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.332-337

Refcode: 2014.67.332
Keywords: Algae, space, aquaculture, respiration, nutrition, carbon sequester

Algal strains used as a production engine represent a novel example of living mechanical systems with tremendous potential for applications in space. Algae use photosynthesis to create lipids, glycerin, and biomass, with different strains of algae producing different oils. Algae can be grown to produce many types of oils, with low, medium or long hydrocarbon chain lengths. This article examines the history of algae research, as well as its value to astronauts as both a food supplement and as an oxygen production and carbon sequester engine. Consideration is given to ways algae is currently being used and tested in space, followed by a look forward envisioning dynamic living technological systems that can help to sustain our race as we travel the void between stars.

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