Revision as of 22:23, 17 August 2011 by Eli.Moss (Talk | contribs)



Mars is a hostile, desolate environment. In order to live there, humans will have to deal with extreme cold, unfiltered solar radiation, low oxygen, and little water. Cellular engineering will solve these problems in time, but that raises a new problem--the extra burden of providing these requirements raises the already considerable needs of these microbes. It may be possible to feed them from a stored cache of growth nutrients for some time, but these basic requirements will have to be extracted from local resources if a self-sustaining colony is to exist.

PowerCell is our solution to this problem; by engineering cyanobacteria to excrete sugar compounds photosynthesized from atmospheric carbon dioxide, PowerCell will provide other bacterial cultures with a rich carbon source, a basic requirement for producing biomass and other compounds. In addition, PowerCell 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 a settlement on Mars. Other microbes producing oxygen, heat, food, light, and other necessities will follow, and in time, a complete biogenic life support system will be put together, all fueled by PowerCell.

Brown-Stanford PowerCellEnergyFlowDiagram.jpg

<references /> R. Hanel, B. Conrath, W. Hovis, V. Kunde, P. Lowman, W. Maguire, J. Pearl, J. Pirraglia, C. Prabhakara, B. Schlachman, G. Levin, P. Straat, T. Burke, Investigation of the Martian environment by infrared spectroscopy on Mariner 9, Icarus, Volume 17, Issue 2, October 1972, Pages 423-442, ISSN 0019-1035, DOI: 10.1016/0019-1035(72)90009-7. (