Description: Ever since NASA successfully landed astronauts on the moon through the Apollo space program, humanity's next challenge is to venture and set foot upon the "Red Planet." Companies such as NASA and SpaceX aspire to conquer that challenge and their aspirations involve developing a successful plan to land on and colonize Mars. Our team, inspired by the book and movie "The Martian" wants to contribute in Mars colonization. Unlike its portrayal in the movie "The Martian", Martian soil contains high levels of perchlorate (ClO4) which is toxic to plants and animals. If colonization on Mars is to be made possible, detoxifying the soil of perchlorate is a necessity. Our team plans to develop an automated proof-of-concept process for the biodegradation of ClO4 to chloride and oxygen which are less harmful than perchlorate, thus remediating the soil and creating a sustainable source of oxygen for Martian colonization. The project will entail: 1. A chemistry-based method to extract and concentrate ClO4 from martian soil. 2. Genetically engineering a fast-growing lab strain of E.Coli to degrade ClO4 by incorporating three ClO4 biodegradation genes from a slow growing soil microorganism. 3. Optimizing ClO4 utilization and oxygen recovery from this genetically engineered strain using a readily available and sustainable source of colony biowaste. 4. Recycling the spent bacterial media and bacterial residue as a fertilizer for hydroponic plant growth.
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Year: 2016Visit Wiki
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Updated at: 8/9/16