Astrobiology, an international patent has been filed


The University of Sassari, the Center for Research, Development and Higher Studies in Sardinia (CRS4), the Aerospace District of Sardinia (DASS), the University of Cagliari and the Tolo Green company have filed the application for an innovative international patent that will contribute, thanks to the potential of spirulina algae, to broaden the scope of research in the field of astrobiology, to the point of imagining a future in which man can arrive on Mars. This is the scenario that is foreseen in the context of the contribution that Sardinia can provide for space exploration.
Three years after the patenting process in Italy, the decision came to enter the international field, filing the application in Europe, the United States, Russia, China, Japan and India.
Thanks to long and patient team work involving researchers and doctoral students from the universities and research institutions involved, it was possible to develop a fertile cultivation medium for the spirulina algae, the new "green gold", that grows in extraterrestrial living conditions. At almost zero gravity, achieved through a special instrument called a clinostat equipped to simulate the Martian atmosphere, the algae thrives as demonstrated by the experiments conducted in the laboratory of Professor Antonella Pantaleo of the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Sassari. Since 2006, CRS4 and the University of Cagliari, as well as other DASS members, have been developing, under the guidance of Professor Giacomo Cao, important research on microalgae that could allow astronauts to survive on the red planet. In fact, in an extraterrestrial environment, spirulina algae can serve the dual purpose of nourishing astronauts and generating oxygen, using the Martian atmosphere saturated with CO2.
The subject of the patent is a kit consisting of a clinostat and a chamber with a CO2 atmosphere, which can reproduce extraterrestrial conditions such as those on Mars.