Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

Mush-Rooms

NASA researchers are exploring the possibility of building rooms for a lunar base on the Moon or Martian habitat using a layer of fungal mycelia. Mycelia are the branching underground threads that absorb nutrients and make up most of the bulk of fungi. The fungi we see are the mushrooms that sprout at the surface. There is a huge underground network supporting large areas of fungi that extend for miles.

The outside layer of the habitat would be made of water in the form of ice. It will protect humans from radiation. It will provide resources to feed the underlying layer of photosynthesizing microbes called cyanobacteria. They produce oxygen for the astronauts and nutrients for the fungal mycelia in the bottom layer. The bottom layer would be made from heavily processed mycelia baked into bricks. The process kills the fungus. It will help keep it contained, so it cannot spread throughout the planet.

The fungi can help filter water for the astronauts and help extract minerals from their sewage. Fungi bricks could also be used on Earth to help control the carbon footprint of the construction industry.

A NASA-funded myco-architecture project has made bricks on Earth already using mycelia, yard waste, and wood chips.