Man-made leaf that could enable humans to colonise space



This video show a synthetic biological leaf, which absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant. Develooped by RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri, he says this innovation could enable long-distance space travel.

“Plants don’t grow in zero gravity,” explains Melchiorri. “NASA is researching different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space journeys to let us live in space. This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now.”

Melchiorri’s Silk Leaf project, which he developed as part of the Royal College of Art’s Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab, consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein.

“The material is extracted directly from the fibres of silk,” Melchiorri explains. “This material has an amazing property of stabilising molecules. I extracted chloroplasts from plant cells and placed them inside this silk protein. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does.”

Read the full story on Dezeen: www.dezeen.com/2014/07/25/movie-silk-leaf-first-man-made-synthetic-biological-leaf-space-travel

See more design and technology movies on Dezeen: www.dezeen.com/minifrontiers

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