Airbus DSNL supports student team in quest for Mars colonization

Leiden University students are contributing to future Mars colonization. With this topic a team of 13 students has officially announced their participation in iGEM 2016, the international competition for synthetic biology (‘Genetically Engineered Machines’).

Mars soil contains about 1% perchlorate, which is very toxic and makes the soil unsuitable for use in e.g. agriculture. In order to detoxify Mars soil, the team is looking to genetically manipulate E.coli bacteria. The modified E.coli bacteria will break down the dangerous perchlorate into harmless oxygen and chloride.

Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands is assisting the team with an RPM 2.0 in order to simulate Mars’ gravity. Together with Mars simulant soil the behavior of the engineered bacteria will be verified using our RPM. When successful this means a new approach for detoxifying land while also generating precious and much needed oxygen.

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