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Kit to study cells and sustain space missions

Animal/vegetable cellsExtraterrestral cultivationManned space missionsMicrogravity effectspace exploration


The invention (TRL 4-5) describes a technology to simulate extraterrestrial conditions for investigating the effect of microgravity and CO2 rich atmosphere on animal and vegetable cells cultivation and a process thereof exploiting extraterrestrial resources for producing edible biomass for the sustainment of manned space missions as well as the kit of materials and apparatus for implementing the same.

Technical features

The presented kit comprises of a random positioning machine (RPM) constructed by Dutch Space (former Fokker Space, Leiden, The Netherlands) with a jar (Don Whitley Scientific Ltd, UK) placed on top, used to study the effects of an atmosphere of ∼100% CO2 similar to that of Mars and microgravity on the growth of animal and vegetable cell cultures. The kit also includes a workstation that monitors in real-time the necessary parameters for the growth of cultures in the presence of pure CO2 and microgravity. The jar has a capacity of 2.5 L and can accommodate up to 8 bioreactors with a base section of 75 cm2 each.
See the Technical Annex for more details and experimental results, in particular on erythrocytes (Int. J. Mol. Sci., 2022).

Possible Applications

  • Study how microgravity affect organisms, especially how animal and vegetable cell response to microgravity;
  • Study cell growth and regenerative medicine;
  • Study cell growth in different atmospheres;
  • Develop advanced biotech;
  • Grow food for space missions;
  • Drugs production.


  • High biomass productivity compared to conventional operating conditions on Earth;
  • Ability to simulate cellular growth under extra-terrestrial conditions on Earth;
  • Potential for producing photosynthetic edible biomass and oxygen for sustaining long-term manned extra-terrestrial missions.