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On Mars as it is on Earth: Bioinspired Technologies for Sustainability on Earth are Paving the Way for a New Era of Space Exploration

Journal paperOpinion
Javier G. Fernandez, Shiwei Ng
APL Mater. 2024, 12(2), 0191443
Publication year: 2024


This article explores the synergy between bioinspired technologies for sustainability on Earth and their application in space exploration. We focus on the parallels between the paradigm shift toward sustainable development on our planet and establishing permanent human settlements on Mars and the Moon. Informed by Earth’s ecological and technological progress, which emphasizes the critical need for efficiency and integration with the planet’s metabolic processes, the discussion revolves around the challenges and opportunities in creating self-sustaining communities in space. Specifically, the focus is on the central role that bioinspired materials, particularly bioinspired chitinous materials, will play in developing sustainable manufacturing practices on Earth and in extraterrestrial environments. Considering the development of bioinspired chitinous manufacturing in the last decade, we argue that we are witnessing the birth of a new manufacturing paradigm embracing efficiency, resilience, and ecological cycles inspired by biological systems, which will be essential for sustainable living on Earth and advancing a new age of space exploration.

The Biomaterial Age: The Transition Toward a More Sustainable Society will Be Determined by Advances in Controlling Biological Processes

Journal paperOpinion
Javier G. Fernandez, Stylianos Dritsas
Matter, 2020. 2(6), 1352-1355
Publication year: 2020


A dramatic transformation is necessary to reach a sustainable society revolving around the control and use of biological materials and designs. This biomaterial age ushers a completely new technological paradigm favoring the development of circular economic models and sustainable societies.


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