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Welcome to the MELiSSA Home Page!

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MELIiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) has been conceived as a micro-organisms and higher plants based ecosystem intended as a tool to gain understanding of the behaviour of artificial ecosystems, and for the development of the technology for a future regenerative life support system for long term manned space missions, e.g. a lunar base or a mission to Mars.

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The collaboration was established through a Memorandum of Understanding and is managed by ESA. It involves several independent organisations: University of Ghent (B), EPAS (B), University of Clermont Ferrand (F), SCK (B), VITO (B), University "Autonoma" of Barcelona (E) and University of Guelph (CDN). It is co-funded by ESA, the MELISSA partners, the Belgium (SSTC), Spanish (CIRIT and MCYT) and Canadian (CRESTech) authorities. Contributions for specific studies have been received as well from Ireland and The Netherlands authorities.

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The driving element of MELISSA is the recovering of food, water and oxygen from waste (faeces, urea), carbon dioxide and minerals (MERGEAY 1988). Based on the principle of an "aquatic" ecosystem, MELISSA is comprised of 5 compartments colonised respectively by thermophilic anoxygenic bacteria, photohererotrophic bacteria, nitrifying bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria, higher plants, and the crew.

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Unwanted waste products and air polutants are processed using the natural function of plants which in turn provide food as well as contributing to water purification and oxygen for air revitalization. Many other important benefits are being examined for related industrial projects.

Click here to join the MELiSSA team.


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Maintained by ESA/ESTEC/TEC-MCT (Contact us), Last modified: February 08 2006 16:10:44