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Radical Vernacular: Bacterial Architecture on Mars

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson, Carolina Ramirez Figueroa


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Our current speculative discourse on the colonisation of other planets tends to consider future buildings through the lens of hi-tec architecture. However, we suggest that developments in biotechnology will enable types of construction which are beyond even our current science fictions. The paper presents an argument for bioengineered building materials framed by the notion of constructing buildings on Mars. The paper introduces the concept of biomineralisation and its processes and applications and focuses on the creation of Calcium Carbonate by certain strains of bacteria. The paper suggests that utilising this process in conjunction with Synthetic Biology (where bacteria are engineered to survive and respond to the environment on other planets) a building process emerges where the materials are adaptive and, to some extend self-constructed in relation to their environments. The paper concludes by speculating about a building process involving the use of bioengineered bacteria to consolidate materials found on the surface of Mars to create materials and structures which are functionally graded.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dade-Robertson M, Ramirez-Figueroa C, Zhang M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the British Interplanetary Society

Year: 2014

Volume: 67

Issue: 7

Pages: 346-353

Print publication date: 01/07/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0007-084X

Publisher: British Interplanetary Society