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Micro-organisms in Space

From Teachers TV, this Inside Science video describes an investigation into MELISSA, an artificial eco-system intended for long-duration space missions. This includes discussions with astronauts about the role of micro-organisms in space travel, such as a two year mission to Mars. MELISSA, or Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative, has been developed as an artificial closed loop eco-system in which micro-organisms are used to break down human waste, produce nutrients for plants, absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and grow edible algae.

At labs in Belgium and Barcelona, scientists give updates on the MELISSA project experiments, and explain the types and functions of various micro-organisms involved. They also talk about the unknowns of microbial evolution, the risks of mutation, and the need to do further space-based testing. The video helps to illustrate careers in science and aspects of how science works.

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