DARPA Bioproduction in Space

DARPA will use biological processes for resource limited environments with its Biomanufacturing: Survival, Utility, and Reliability beyond Earth (B-SURE) program.

DARPA wants to be make fuel, replacement parts or tools, and a wide range of other products. They could use fermentation equipment, feedstocks, and a freezer full of microbes that convert the feedstock into products on demand.

B-SURE will collect data on the microbial utilization of space-based alternative feedstocks, optimization of microbial growth in variable gravities, and mitigation strategies for identified effects of galactic cosmic radiation on microbial growth and bioproduction.

The 18-month effort involves three tracks to meet program goals.

Track 1 “Alternative Feedstock Utilization” will determine which alternative feedstocks can be consumed by host organisms and at what quantity and purity levels.
Track 2 “Variable Gravity” will identify the impact of variable gravity on cellular performance in the context of biomanufacturing parameters and how terrestrial analogs predict on-orbit molecule production.
Track 3 “Variable Radiation” will discover the effects of variable radiation on microbial molecule production. Program proposers may choose to respond to one or more tracks.

Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com