Revision as of 22:00, 17 August 2011 by Eli.Moss (Talk | contribs)



Mars introduces a number of challenges that must be overcome before a human colony can be established. We believe that cellular engineering will address these problems in time, but this solution raises a problem of its own--the burden imposed by synthetic systems raises the already significant metabolic requirements of these organisms. It may be feasible to draw from a stored cache of growth nutrients for some time, but the basic requirements must be extracted from in situ resources if a colony is to persist in a self-sustained manner. PowerCell is our solution to this unavoidable obstacle; by engineering cyanobacteria to excrete sugar compounds photosynthesized from atmospheric CO2, PowerCell will provide other bacterial cultures with a complex carbon source, a basic requirement for biomass and synthetic compound production. In addition, our cyanobacterial system is able to fix atmospheric N2 and release it in a form accessible to bacteria, providing a basic requirement for protein synthesis and other crucial biological functions. By producing two of the macromolecules essential to bacterial growth, PowerCell will form a metabolic foundation for the biological systems which will eventually enable Martian colonization. Other biological systems producing oxygen, heat, food, light, and other necessities will follow, and in time, a complete biogenic life support system will be assembled, all fueled by PowerCell.