Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

For Martian Fuel

Microbes, including a bioengineered strain of Escherichia coli, could help produce rocket fuel on Mars, Gizmodo reports.

Researchers from Georgia Tech suggest that a Mars-specific rocket fuel could be produced using a combination sunlight, carbon dioxide, and frozen water — all present on the Red Planet — alongside cyanobacteria and engineered E. coli. As they report in Nature Communications, the photosynthetic cyanobacteria would convert carbon dioxide into sugars that the E. coli can then use to produce 2,3-butanediol.

Gizmodo notes that 2,3-butanediol isn't the strongest propellent and that NASA has typically expected that methane would be needed to make rocket fuel on Mars. But the researchers say 2,3-butanediol would work in Mars' lower gravity. "You need a lot less energy for lift-off on Mars, which gave us the flexibility to consider different chemicals that aren't designed for rocket launch on Earth," Pamela Peralta-Yahya, an associate professor at Georgia Tech, says in a press release.

The researchers are next examining whether cyanobacteria can be grown under Martian conditions.

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.