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South Dakota algae could land on Mars

from Argus Leader

On the day mankind sets up house on Mars or Venus or some other planet, there's a good chance that South Dakota researchers helped to pave the way. In its quest to colonize space, NASA has awarded a $750,000, three-year grant to researchers at South Dakota State University, the School of Mines and Technology and Oglala Lakota College to make fuel, oxygen and clean water for colonists. Those researchers already are genetically manipulating cyanobacteria — commonly known as blue-green algae — so that it produces and secretes the renewable carbon molecules necessary for gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. With the NASA money, research will focus on confirming and increasing the production of an energy-dense alcohol and making it robust enough for industrial use. more

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