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An empty asteroid would be the perfect ship to explore the universe.
For some time now, there has been a desire to develop a technology that will make it possible to create a spacecraft that is resistant to the atmosphere of outer space. While missions have been undertaken before, ESA wants to send a number of crew members from our solar system to another, so that the entire universe can be fully explored, but a journey of this calibre requires an evolutionary and self-sustaining technology that can last for decades. All this is being carried out under the observation and collaboration of Tecnológica Delft.
DSTART are responsible for the creation of the asteroid ship
DSTART is made up of professors and students belonging to TU Delft and are currently carrying out all the necessary research to transform an empty asteroid into a special ship that can house a considerable number of crew members and, in turn, move them around the universe. The idea is to make the spacecraft fully resistant to space weather and not easily destroyed. While many believe that the primary focus is technology, there are actually more factors that these people have taken into account, for example, biological and social factors.
On the other hand, in addition to DSTART, the Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELISSA) programme, which is led by ESA and consists of 11 nations, is developing an aquatic ecosystem that can convert natural waste and carbon dioxide into food and water. The Autonomous University of Barcelona has a pilot plant of MELISSA, in which it has a hermetic multi-compartment with rats as crew members. To feed and survive rodents, they have a bioreactor.
This bioreactor has marine algae that provide oxygen and has been studied with it at the International Space Station. If the studies go well, the first mission into space with an asteroid as a spacecraft would soon be completed.