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NASA wants to use energy-producing bacteria to power small devices in space

Bacteria could power ‘microrovers’ in space

Electron microscope image of the bacteria. (credit: NRL)

NASA wants to use energy-producing bacteria to power small devices in space.

According to the Huffington Post, experimentation with energy-producing bacteria is something that scientists have been doing for nearly a century, but “applications of microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology are just beginning to blossom.”

MFC technology could be the perfect solution to power planetary robotics because, as the Huffington Post explains, “the bacteria in MFCs produce electrons automatically and reproduce over time, these devices are extremely reliable. They’re also hardy, not needing any oxygen to live and able to survive the low temperatures of deep space. On top of that, they’re more efficient than standard lithium-ion batteries because bacteria can be packed together much more tightly.”

The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) reports that NASA hopes to use MFCs to power small space robots, including ‘microrovers’ that could potentially explore remote regions of outer space.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is an editor and staff writer for Open Minds magazine. Jason is also the producer and co-host of the web series Spacing Out!, web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/jason.openminds