Mycelium: Designing the way we explore Mars

Martian shoes made of mycelium???

According to an article produced by the BBC, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City wanted to find someone who could redesign, in a way, the moon boots from the 1970s’ moon explorations. Luckily enough, Liz Ciokajlo, was one such designer. She was super excited about this commission and envisioned a fluffy boot which utilized one of the strongest and most versatile materials on earth: fungal mycelium! She was set on using a material other than plastic and instead of moon travel this time, she chose Mars. These boots were designed with the idea that fungi are incredibly well-adapted at recycling nutrients and can very quickly regenerate. Ciokajlo then came up with the idea that this mycelia could potentially feed off of the nutrients contained in human sweat, and the research project was born. Although Ciokajlo’s first boots are made only from a composite mycelium-based material involving both cotton and hemp, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency) have since been working on utilizing these ideas and seeing whether they would actually hold up in a space mission. Research is also being conducted on whether buildings and actual structures could be made out of mycelial material to take up into space as well. These would be much lighter, as they would not have to be fully grown until arriving on Mars, then it would only take a matter of days or weeks in order for the fungus to grow into these structures. A lot of research is still yet to be done on this score, however it would seem that fungi may be shaping the way we live in the future much more than we all might have thought!

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181031-how-fungus-and-sweat-could-transform-martian-exploration

11.29.18

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