The US space agency NASA said astronauts on the Moon or Mars may grow their homes, rather than carrying materials from Earth for developing the structure. Scientists are exploring technologies to build fungi homes on Moon and Mars in the future. The project is at an early stage. Scientists are developing technologies that could grow home-like structures out of fungi. The space agency said transporting habitats and even the materials for habitats to Moon or Mars will require a lot of space in the space shuttle. It said creating a livable home for astronauts is a challenge because they will need to have all their basic needs met as they will face additional challenges of living in a harsh environment. Doing all these will require a lot of fuel and will be quite expensive. Keeping all aspects in mind, scientists are exploring technologies that will help astronauts on the Moon and Mars to grow their homes out of mushrooms.
NASA said that fungi are a more sustainable option to metal and glass. The space agency’s myco-architecture project is using mushrooms as the building blocks. The experiment will determine how future space habitats could be built. The project’s main focus is on the underground threads that make up the main part of the fungus. It is known as mycelia. Mycelia are the vegetative part of a fungus. They consist of a network of fine white filaments. They are capable of growing, replicating, and repairing on own. Scientists, therefore, believe that it is a sustainable option and holds a solution to space construction. Scientists say the habitat will protect humans and also the lunar and Martian surface as well. The fungi will be contained within the structure.
NASA sais the mycelia will be genetically altered. This will be done to help exist if separated from the habitat. They say it will prevent the Mars surface from becoming contaminated and also prevent any false positive study of life on the Red Planet. Fungi feed off organic material and produce spores. Mycelia acts like roots and rapidly build the fungi. They spread into a multitude of mushrooms. They can be used to create a different kind of structure like the building blocks. On the Red Planet, the fungi will require cyanobacteria to survive. Cyanobacteria use solar energy that converts dioxide and water into oxygen and food. Notably, mycelia materials are already commercially produced. They are known as insulators.