Extra-Terrestrial Ecosystems: The European Space Agency MELiSSA Program

30/11/2015 - 4 minutes

Researching how to bring sustainable life support systems from Earth to the moon or Mars is the first move by the European Space Agency in making Space livable on the longer term scale.

esa_melissa_spaceAround 25 years ago the MELiSSA project was born…with the aim of easing human exploration of the Solar System, whilst also serving current global challenges such as waste recycling, water provision and food production in harsh environmental circumstances…

During the eighties, a collection of ‘visionaries’ came together to discuss what would actually be needed to recycle waste and carbon dioxide on spacecraft using bacteria, in order to make life in space possible. Indeed, in 1987 it was demonstrated that a super simple closed loop ecosystem of just 2 single algae strains was able to survive a five-day microgravity trip on a Chinese capsule.


Thus, in 1993 Claude Chipaux and Daniel Kaplan of Matra Espace, Professor Max Mergeay of SCK, Professor Willy Verstraete of the University of Ghent and Professors Marcelle Lefor Tran and Guy Dubertret of the French CNRS –

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