Photosynthesis can be used to colonize Mars

In an era where renewable energy has never been more crucial, scientists are stepping beyond the confines of our planet in their search for solutions. A team of innovative researchers has pioneered a technology that could revolutionize our approach to harnessing solar power in space, by replicating the process of photosynthesis. This trailblazing development might not only ensure the sustainability of future space expeditions but could also transform our understanding of life support systems on celestial bodies like Mars and the Moon.


Scientists are on the brink of breakthroughs in sustainable technology designed to harvest solar energy in outer space. This technology could potentially supplement life support systems on Mars and the Moon.

Photosynthesis and Mars

As per a study published in Nature Communications, researchers are pioneering a method to convert renewable energy outside the Earth’s atmosphere. They aim to utilize photosynthesis, a chemical process by which plants generate energy, to bolster sustainability within the space industry.

The study, led by the University of Warwick, investigates the potential of a specialized device known as a semiconductor to absorb sunlight on Mars and the Moon. Hopefully, such devices could improve life support systems on these extraterrestrial landscapes.


Artificial Photosynthesis Devices on Mars and space

These “artificial photosynthesis devices” replicate the life-sustaining processes of plants on Earth, converting water into oxygen using sunlight and recycling carbon dioxide. The benefit of these systems lies in their direct use of solar power, which could save weight on long-term space travel compared to current systems used on the International Space Station – making space travel more efficient.

The demand for efficient and reliable energy sources in space exploration is increasing. The newly developed technology could be deployed on Mars and the Moon to tap into renewable energy, powering rockets and supplementing life support systems for oxygen production, carbon dioxide recycling, and other chemical production. This study’s learnings also help enhance device efficiencies and optimize traditional solar cells in space for Earth applications.

Scientific Perspectives

Katharina Brinkert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, voiced her optimism, stating, “With sunlight being so abundantly available in space, we have shown how this source could be used to harvest energy – much like plants back on Earth – for life support systems for long-term space travel.” She adds that this technology could provide significant oxygen production and carbon dioxide recycling on both the Moon and Mars.


Sophia Haussener, Associate Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, emphasized the importance of this study, providing insights into the potential of such devices for extra-terrestrial use, and setting design guidelines for their potential implementation.

Have something to add? Visit Curiosmos on Facebook. Join the discussion in our mobile Telegram group.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch