Mycelium Martian Dome

Geodesic structure made of Mycelium bricks.
For my Panspermia installation taking place at the Ontario Science Centre, I will be growing/constructing a geodesic dome using mycelium grown ‘bricks’. Using 3D printed Eco ‘Nodes’ and perhaps instead of 2”x4” lumber, laser cut cardboard can be used as supports (that hold the mycelium bricks in place), allowing the entire structure to be decomposed after the installation.

Inside the Mycelium dome not only will educational materials be available a large bio-sonification structure will also be growing within a terrarium that visitors may interact with sonically.
Alien Agencies Collective colleague, Professor Joel Ong will have mycelial bio-data, generative visualizations taking place within the Mycelium Martian Dome.

Moog Audio a key sponsor! Moog Audio is generously providing all sound gear that will be used within the Mycelium Martian Dome!

a key sponsor! Ecovative Design is generously providing this project GIY material towards building the Mycelium Martian Dome!

is generously providing this project time and mycelium cultivating expertise in growing mushrooms and will also be assisting me in growing the mycelium brick forms.



Some inspiration:
NASA’s 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge is advancing the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars.
The European Space Agency is looking at Fungi Bio-composites
MoMa NY has grown a large-scale mycelium structure at its PS1 campus.

The Mycelium Martian dome
It is possible to create suitable growing conditions for fungi regarding temperature, humidity and atmosphere in a space environment. An important question, however, is whether fungi are able to survive in environments with a high radiation level. Due to weak or inexistent magnetic field, the Moon and Mars are exposed to galactic cosmic
radiation (GCR), solar winds and solar particle events (SPEs). There is, however, evidence that a specific type of fungi can survive the simulated Martian conditions [10,11] and that the ionizing radiation can even enhance the growth of melanised black fungi [12,13,14]. Onofri, de Vera, Zucconi, et al proved in their Lichens and Fungi
Experiment (LIFE) that Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri are able to survive the simulated martian conditions aboard the Internatinal Space Station for 18 months. They found that more than 60% of the cells and rock communities did not undergo any change due to the exposure [11]. Dadachova, Bryan, Huang, et al studied melanised microorganisms, such as Cryptococcus neoformans, Wangiella dermatitidis and Cladosporium sphaerospermum and found that ionizing radiation changes the electronic properties of the organisms and enhances their growth [13]. In another study, researchers were able to provide clues how melanised black yeast Wangiella dermatitidis has adapted the ability to survive or even benefit from exposure to ionizing radiation [14]. These studies suggest that melanin pigments play a crucial role in the survival of fungi when exposed to radiation, which could mean that it is necessary to choose, either melanin containing fungal species when developing the architectural
structures for space environment, or add melanin pigments to the species which does not contain them yet.
Fungi based biomaterials could offer the following advantages over other in situ manufacturing technologies:
• Costs: Lower manufacturing and energy costs due to excluding the costs of (a) prospecting to locate and validate the accessibility of indigenous resources, (b) developing and demonstrating capabilities to extract indigenous resources and
(c) developing capabilities for processing indigenous resources to convert them to needed products
• Manufacturing: Full manufacturing loop following a cradle-to-cradle principle: the waste of another process (e.g. greenhouse) can be used as a basis for building structures, which at the end of their service period can be used biodegraded
• Mass: Light weigh, therefore easy to handle. Can be used for complex shapes
• Known to hold compressive and tension stresses. Non-flammable, waterproof, good insulation properties.
• Strength: Forms a fibrous composite with a substrate, which enhances the
material strength. Can be used for complex shapes
• Diversity of applications and products: Enables to produce a variety of different fungi based materials: from transparent films to concrete/ brick like materials
• Speed: Grows relatively fast (in general two weeks)

The additive manufacturing technology is very promising technique for utilising in situ resources on the Moon and Mars. However, when using the indigenous resources, it is also important to consider the investments needed for (a) prospecting to locate and validate the accessibility of indigenous resources and (b) developing and demonstrating capabilities to extract indigenous resources, (c) developing capabilities
for processing indigenous resources to convert them to needed products, and (d) any ancillary requirements specifically dictated by use of ISRU [1]. In that case, fungi based biocomposites might offer a cost effective alternative for constructing structures in situ.
In situ manufacturing of fungi structures would require bringing seeds of specific fungi to space which then would grow into composite structures in situ. However, only a minimum amount of seeds should be brought from the Earth for the pilot structure as the seeds for the following projects would be produced in situ. The production of fungi structures could be low cost and could require only limited human assistance, eliminating therefore costly and time consuming locating, validating and extracting processes of local resources [2].

Fungi based biocomposites are produced by combining fungal mycelium with a natural reinforcement or filler. These materials are renewable and recyclable, and are slowly starting to replace various plastics, packaging and insulating materials on Earth. The fungi based biocomposite is also being discovered by artist, designers and architects who have been successful in using these materials in many new ways [3]. Bricks and
new architectural structures have been produced with fungi [4], as well as various fungi based products [5,6,7]. The combination of 3D printing with living organisms has been studied using 3D printing techniques with organic waste, which then formed the basis for the mycelium growth. The mycelium grew through the organic waste, forming a network of interwoven roots, which then bound the material into cohesive and strong biocomposite structure [8].

1. Rapp, D., 2008. Human Mission to Mars. Enabling Technologies for Exploring the Red Planet. Springer
2. Howe, A.S., Wilcox, B., McQuin, C., Townsend, J., Rieber, R., Barmatz, M., Leichty, J., 2013. Faxing Structures to the Moon: Freeform Additive Construction System (FACS). AIAA SPACE 2013 Conference and Exposition, September 10-12, 2013, San Diego, CA (link)
3. Officina Corpuscoli: 10.
4. MycoWorks:
5. Ecovative Design:
6. Saporta, S., Yang, F., Clark, M., 2015. Design and Delivery of Structural Material Innovations. Structures Congress 2015, p. 1253-1265
7. The Living New York:
8. Eric Klarenbeek:
9. Lelivelt, R.J.J., 2015. The mechanical possibilities of mycelium materials. Eindhoven Univeristy of
Technology (link)
10. Scalzi, G., Selbmann, L., Zucconi, L., Rabbow, E., Horneck, G., Albertano, P., Onofri, S., 2012. LIFE Experiment: Isolation of Cryptoendolithic Organisms from Antarctic Colonized Sandstone Exposed to
Space and Simulated Mars Conditions on the International Space Station. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 42, p. 253-262
11. Onofri, S., Vera, J.-P., de, Zucconi, L., Selbmann, L., Scalzi, G., Venkateswaran, K.J., Rabbow, E., Torre, R., de la, Horneck, G., 2015. Survival of Antarctic Cryptoendolithic Fungi in Simulated Martian Conditions On Board the International Space Station. Astrobiology 15 (12), p. 1052-1059 (link)
12. Zhdanova, N.N., Tugay, T., Dighton, J., Zheltonozhsky, V., Mcdermott, P., 2004. Ionizing radiation attracts soil fungi. Mycological Research 108 (9), p. 1089–1096
13. Dadachova, E., Bryan, R.A., Huang, X., Moadel, T., Schweitzer, A.D., Aisen, P., Nosanchuk, J.D.,
Casadevall, A., 2007. Ionizing Radiation Changes the Electronic Properties of Melanin and Enhances the
Growth of Melanized Fungi. Plos One (5), e457 (link)
14. Robertson, K.L., Mostaghim, A., Cuomo, C.A., Soto, C.M., Lebedev, N., Bailey, R.F., Wang, Z., 2012. Adaptation of the Black Yeast Wangiella dermatitidis to Ionizing Radiation: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms. Plos One 7 (11), e48674 (link)