RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri says the synthetic biological leaf he developed, which absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant, could enable long-distance space travel.
Like the leaves of a plant, all Melchiorri's Silk Leaf needs to produce oxygen is light and a small amount of water.
"It could [also] be used for outdoor applications," he says. "So facades, ventilation systems. You can absorb air from outside, pass it through these biological filters and then bring oxygenated air inside."