The First Artificial Leaf Aims To Help Us Travel Further

leaf oxygen featured

Since life began we have looked to the heavens and wished we could explore. Gazed upon the majesty of planets and stars in wonder of what was out there. There is only one tiny problem with that, oxygen. I mean besides the crushing vacuum and chilling temperatures.

Despite the fact we seem determined to cut it down, plants and trees are our lifeblood here on earth. Taking in our waste carbon dioxide. In return providing us with more oxygen. So some time or another we are going to have to take some shrubs with us to help. That’s was until now.

Julian Melchiorri has managed to create the first artificial leaf that produces oxygen. The fully functional artificial leaf takes in carbon dioxide, water and light and produces oxygen. Providing us with a plant like experience, without the need for soil, gravity or sunlight.

“This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles, As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does.” – Julian Melchiorri

Melchorri has made this astonishing breakthrough by suspending chloroplasts (the cell that does all this amazing stuff) in a silk protein. Whilst it is shown in a leaf like form in the video below, it could adopt any shape or form. From replicating the appearance of plants, to a covering material for building or objects.

And of course this will aid life here on earth and not just space travel. All sorts of object in our daily lives could be made of this amazing material. Providing a literal breath of fresh air to any room.

There is a worry that artificial replication of our oxygen ‘factories’ will lead to less reliance on the world’s forests, possibly leading to further destruction of our planet. However let’s remember the forests also provide us with amazing wildlife and plants that serve purposes other than just oxygen production.

A great addition to the planet, or a way for us to reach to the stars? Let is know your thoughts on Google Plus, Facebook or Twitter.

  Source: Julian Melchiorri
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