Published: 22nd March 2017
A project by these three students might help us colonise the Moon soon
The winners of TeamIndus's Lab2Moon competition - Mattia Barbarossa, Dario Pisanti and Altea Renata Maria Nemolato from Italy are all set to send their project, Radio-Shield to the moon
Colonising Mars and the moon are no longer a distant dream for us earthlings, thanks to science and technology. But what about the hurdles? Space radiation remains our greatest threat. Thankfully, a group of youngsters from Italy, who were in Bengaluru for TeamIndus's Lab2Moon competition, might have come up with an ingenious solution to this problem.
The three students — Mattia Barbarossa, Dario Pisanti and Altea Renata Maria Nemolato — won the competition and secured their project, Radio-Shield a trip to the moon. "Our project tests the effectiveness and efficiency of an innovative radiation shield, BIOS, that uses bacteria as a radiation shielding material. It consists of a colony of Cyanobacteria that are able to resist extremely harsh conditions," explains Dario, the oldest member of the team. While he is a student of Aerospace Engineering, Mattia and Altea are high school students. Their team, Space4Life, was announced the winners at the event held in Bengaluru on March 15.
The competition was open to students from all around the world, where more than 3000 teams participated from 15 countries
The trio who met at a space hackathon, had been working on this dream project of theirs since July. "From the time we started working on the shield, we’ve hardly slept. We’ve worked day and night throughout our summer break," says Mattia, the youngest member of the team. He says that a solution for space radiation was indispensable for future space travel.
After comparing the effectiveness of their shield with a normal aluminium shield, the team was surprised with the results. The bacterial shield performed infinitely better than the aluminium one. After seven long months of hard work, they were ecstatic to be crowned the winners. "The three of us were really ambitious to be a part of this experience. We still can't believe that we’ve won," says an excited Altea.
Set to fly: The lander that they would send on the Moon
The trio doesn't plan to stop with this experiment. They share a passion to explore aerospace engineering and related fields. "We will continue our studies and acquire more knowledge in aerospace engineering and maybe, one day, get the chance to go to space," says a hopeful Mattia.
"Please! Don't do that," quips Dario, leaving everyone in splits.