Washington: NASA is funding a new research project at South Dakota State University, which may help humans move one step closer to colonizing space.
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Oglala Lakota College have won a National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant of 750,000 dollars to study ways to use cyanobacteria to make energy-dense fuels and high-value chemicals, oxygen, and cleansed water directly from carbon dioxide, sunlight, and wastewater.
Cyanobacteria are commonly known as blue-green algae.
“This project will help NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate address the goal of providing renewable, energy-dense biofuels in a sustainable manner, while supplying technology to sequester carbon dioxide released by an astronautics crew,” said SDSU researcher Ruanbao Zhou Zhou.
The researchers and NASA believe the project could provide “game changing” technology to NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist.
It could help resolve critical issues in what NASA calls its “Space Power and Energy Storage” and the “Human Health, Life Support and Habitation Systems” roadmaps — essentially summaries of what is needed to achieve national and agency goals in human space exploration over the next few decades.
The proposal addresses two of NASA’s grand challenges — space colonization and affordable abundant power.