Bioreactor design to perform microbial mining activities on another celestial body

R. Volger, S. J.J. Brouns, A. Cowley, C. Picioreanu, B. A.E. Lehner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Transporting materials from Earth to the Moon adds additional costs to a mission and limits other mission activities. Thus, a sustained settlement on any celestial body will be enhanced if it can perform elemental extraction and utilization in situ. In this study, all requirements to test a novel, biological approach for ISRU are validated. We present designs for a lander with a fully autonomous bioreactor, capable of taking in lunar regolith and extracting pure elements from it via biological processes. Simulations and models of the bioreactor and complete lander will resolve its benefits as well as highlight limitations in comparison to other mining approaches. Furthermore, the interconnection with additional biological systems (human astronauts, life support systems, etc.) is assessed in terms of nutrient recycling and self-sufficiency. In this paper, an analysis of the practicality of several reactor types, a breakdown of the process flow for a biological ISRU approach and in silico validation of the feasibility are presented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13


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