Graduate Julian Melchiorri created a synthetic biological leaf that absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, just like a plant. This could enable long-distance space travel.
“Plants don’t grow in zero gravity,” explains Melchiorri. “NASA is researching different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space journeys to let us live in space. This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now.”
“The material is extracted directly from the fibres of silk,” Melchiorri explains. “This material has an amazing property of stabilizing molecules. I extracted chloroplasts from plant cells and placed them inside this silk protein. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does.” “Like the leaves of a plant, all Melchiorri’s Silk Leaf needs to produce oxygen is light and a small amount of water.”
We should connect this guy with Elon Musk for the next Mars trip![SOURCE](http://www.dezeen.com/2014/07/25/movie-silk-leaf-first-man-made-synthetic-biological-leaf-space-travel/)