Robots don’t need a whole lot to survive, and even thrive, on the surface of Mars (once they get there, anyway). But meeting even the most basic needs of humans will be a huge challenge — we’ll need some kind of bioregenerative system to grow food, produce oxygen, clean our water and recycle nutrients.
Simply stepping outdoors in the hostile environs of space is a hazardous undertaking for living beings--aside from the lack of gravity and the low- to no-pressure conditions, radiation runs rampant outside of Earth’s protective atmospheric cocoon. As such, space seems like a poor place for farming. But thriving plant life near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Ukraine suggests that farming in space may not be so very impossible after all.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.