A fungus capable of absorbing radiation, found at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, could potentially be used to protect future human colonies on Mars.
One of the biggest obstacles on the way to manned missions to Mars, and their subsequent colonization, is protecting astronauts from deadly cosmic rays. Although it is possible to build shields with stainless steel and other such materials, they must be shipped from Earth, which depends on a complex and expensive operation.
In January of the current year, NASA reported that it is carrying out a project to create future space homes made of mushrooms. The idea, according to the space agency, is that in the future, humans can “can bring a compact habitat built out of a lightweight material with dormant fungi that will last on long journeys to places like Mars. ”
“Upon arrival, by unfolding that basic structure and simply adding water, the fungi will be able to grow around that framework into a fully functional human habitat – all while being safely contained within the habitat to avoid contaminating the Martian environment.” explained the NASA on the occasion.