Grand challenges in space synthetic biology

Amor A. Menezes, Michael G. Montague, John Cumbers, John A. Hogan, Adam P. Arkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Space synthetic biology is a branch of biotechnology dedicated to engineering biological systems for space exploration, industry and science. There is significant public and private interest in designing robust and reliable organisms that can assist on long-duration astronaut missions. Recent work has also demonstrated that such synthetic biology is a feasible payload minimization and life support approach as well. This article identifies the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the field of space synthetic biology, while highlighting relevant progress. It also outlines anticipated broader benefits from this field, because space engineering advances will drive technological innovation on Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150803
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number113
StatePublished - Dec 6 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Life support
  • Manufacturing
  • Resource utilization
  • Space cybernetics
  • Space medicine
  • Terraforming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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