Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well.
Creating a livable home for future astronauts means doing more than growing a roof to go over their heads.
Astronauts will need to have all their basic needs met, just like on Earth, and face the additional challenges of living in a harsh environment on a distant world, the US space agency said in a statement.
Keeping that in mind, the myco-architecture project out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California is prototyping technologies that could “grow” habitats on the Moon, Mars and beyond out of life – specifically, fungi and the unseen underground threads that make up the main part of the fungus, known as mycelia.
“Right now, traditional habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle – carrying our homes with us on our backs – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs,” said Lynn Rothschild, the principal investigator on the early-stage project.
“Instead, we can harness mycelia (vegetative part of a fungus) to grow these habitats ourselves when we get there”.
The future of meat substitutes may not involve plants. While food manufacturers race to bring new soy, wheat and pea-based products to market, a handful of start-ups have been hard at work developing a new kind of meat alternative from fungi.
Two companies in the emerging space are gearing up to launch their first products this year. Emergy Foods, Boulder, Colo., is working with culinary experts to perfect its steak alternative, which will debut in restaurants in Colorado under the newly unveiled Meati brand.
Berkeley Calif.-based Prime Roots, formerly Terramino Foods, also plans to launch its first products in 2020. The company uses Koji, a Japanese fungus traditionally used to make soy sauce and sake, to create several kinds of seafood, including salmon burgers, shrimp, lobster and tuna as well as chicken, sausage and beef.
The world of fungi is wonderful, weird and wild thanks to its rich palette of colors, strange shapes and infinite textures. Contrary to what you've been told, not all colorful mushrooms are deadly, like the red fly agaric. Below are two violet mushrooms that are edible and one beautiful blue mushroom that nobody dares to consume.
Photo above is of an Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystina)
The amethyst deceiver has a bright lilac color. Its cap and stem become paler and almost white in dry environments or as the mushroom grows older, making it hard to recognize. Thus, the name "deceiver". The violet mushroom can be found in leaf litter of coniferous and deciduous woodland during late summer and autumn. Though people often think that colorful mushrooms are toxic, the amethyst deceiver is edible.
Read the full article and about more edible mushrooms on the webiste of GGTN.
Nicknamed the "mushroom of immortality" in English, Ganoderma mushrooms are known as "reishi" in Japanese and as "lingzhi" in Chinese. Ganoderma is a group of fungi that break down wood or cause white rot on certain tree species in the environment. Humans use Ganoderma fungi to treat anything from the flu to cancer. Some consume it as a preventative anti-inflammatory treatment. It's even marketed as a superfood. Reishi/lingzhi has been referenced as far back as 100 B.C. as a supplement used to improve human health.
Studies have found promising immune-boosting effects of the mushroom of immortality, particularly for those who are ill and less so for those that are healthy. Unsurprisingly, the reishi/lingzhi trade industry has a global market of more than $2.16 billion or approximately 2% of the worldwide dietary supplement sales. Recently, scientists tested 20 manufactured products of Ganoderma, including pills, tablets, teas and other consumables as well as 17 grow-your-own kits that were labeled as containing the species Ganoderma lucidum.