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Thread: How biomining could sustain space colonies

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    How biomining could sustain space colonies

    How biomining could sustain space colonies



    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)]KEY TAKEAWAYS[/COLOR]
    • Biomining is a process in which microbes are used to extract valuable elements from rocks and soil.
    • It is currently used on Earth to mine copper, gold, zinc, cobalt, and various other elements.
    • Scientists hope to use biomining on the Moon and Mars to make future colonies self-sustaining.
    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)]If humans ever hope to establish permanent settlements elsewhere in the solar system, we are going to need a steady supply of water; oxygen; essential nutrients for plant nutrition as well as our own; gaseous elements like hydrogen, nitrogen, and helium to make fuel; and metals like iron, copper, and vanadium for structures and electronic components. Luckily, these all can be obtained from extraterrestrial rocks, and microorganisms can help.

    [/COLOR]Biomining

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)]Right now on Earth, specialized microbes are used to leach precious metals from rocks. Around 20-25% of copper and 5% of gold are harvested with biomining. Bacteria can also extract zinc, nickel, cobalt, uranium, and various other elements straight from mineral ores. What if we could do the same thing in space? The process would require relatively little energy and mitigate the need to import materials from Earth.[/COLOR]
    A blueprint for long-term habitation

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)]If we want those boots to stay there long term, however, we will probably need to sort out biomining. Maintaining a constant supply line from Earth would be taxing and treacherous, but biomining has the potential to make [/COLOR]space colonies[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)] self-sustaining. Pair the practice with advanced 3D printing, and we may just have a blueprint for long-term human habitation of the solar system.[/COLOR]
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    carolina73's Avatar Senior Member
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    Sure! Making Martian 12 foot bacteria monsters.

    I think biomining is not really an accurate term. They are going have to mine the materials first in order to reduce the time needed to degrade some of the elements. So this would be more of a very slow refining method.
    But these bacteria also create waste. When they treat dumps they get large amounts of Ammonia produced.
    Let's go Brandon !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina73 View Post
    Sure! Making Martian 12 foot bacteria monsters.

    I think biomining is not really an accurate term. They are going have to mine the materials first in order to reduce the time needed to degrade some of the elements. So this would be more of a very slow refining method.
    But these bacteria also create waste. When they treat dumps they get large amounts of Ammonia produced.
    Turn it into fuel.
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