ESA title
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst completed his EVA on 7. October 2014 successfully.
Enabling & Support

Targets & Scientific domains

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology / Melissa

MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) is the European Project  closed life support system. It aims to produce food, water and oxygen for manned space missions where otherwise these supplies would result in a tremendous cost. Therefore, the life support system has to be increasingly regenerative.  

The project targets to ease human exploration of the Solar System, but can also serve current global challenges as waste recycling, water provision, food production in harsh environmental circumstances... 

Planet Mars
Planet Mars
  1. Develop the technology for a safe and reliable closed loop regenerative Life Support System (LSS) for sustained human presence in space: on the Moon (e.g. a manned lunar outpost) or Mars
  2. Generate knowledge on bio-processes & coupled systems
  3. Use the developed know-how via technology implementation, knowledge transfer and education


The cyanobacteria Arthrospira platensis also know as 'Spirulina'
The cyanobacteria Arthrospira platensis also know as 'Spirulina'

A system as complex and extended as the MELiSSA loop requires a multidisciplinary approach. Scientists and engineers from different domains work together to reach the target of a robust closed loop system, and to implement the generated knowledge in our daily life. The hereunder mentioned fields are the foremost but is not limited to these.

In the MELiSSA loop, many scientific domains are involved: for example micro-biology investigates the physiology of the micro-organisms and molecular biology studies the  micro-organisms. Numerous engineering disciplines are involved for process design and development, leading to different generations of hardware.