First synthetic biological leaf could allow humans to colonize space
In order for humans to live in outer space, they must have a steady supply of oxygen they can depend on. Now, instead of relying on plants that may not survive, they can use an artificial biological leaf designed by a London graduate student.
Julian Melchiorri, a graduate student in innovation design engineering at the UK’s Royal College of Art, created the synthetic leaf, which he called the ‘Silk Leaf Project’. The design was for an RCA course offered in collaboration with Tufts University’s silk lab in Massachusetts.
Like the leaf from a real plant, the synthetic leaf uses photosynthesis to produce oxygen, by absorbing light, water and carbon dioxide. “The artificial leaves feature chloroplasts extracted from actual plant cells that are suspended in a material made from silk protein. So when given access to light and water they still produce oxygen, but they’re better suited to surviving off our planet,”Gizmodo reported.