We study spirulina at SCK•CEN in the context of space research. About 30 years ago, the Microbiology laboratory launched the MELiSSA project in cooperation with the ESA. The goal was the development of biological solutions to recycle waste (waste water, CO2 and organic matter) into drinking water, oxygen and food during long-term space missions, for example to Mars.
Research shows that spirulina is ideal for supporting life in a closed environment, such as a spacecraft, because:
- it retains CO2
- it produces oxygen
- it is extremely resistant to (cosmic) radiation
- it is suitable as a nutritious supplement in the daily diet of astronauts
Spirulina has therefore come a long way - from a lake in Africa to far into space. So it’s high time it returns to its roots with our Inspiration project!