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Salts found in Martian soil could be transformed into breathable air thanks to a bacteria created in the lab by a group of students.
Their genetically engineered organism can convert perchlorate - a chemical compound that covers over one per cent of Mars - into oxygen.
Solution - Salt - Bioreactor - Bacteria
The did so by placing a solution containing the salt into a bioreactor with the engineered bacteria.
It then broke the compound down into its building blocks, chloride and oxygen, the latter of which was then harvested.
NASA - Aims - Humans - Mars - Colony
NASA aims to have humans on Mars by 2030 and, if successful, a colony may be built in the future.
Finding a way to produce oxygen on the red planet could help settlers establish a permanent presence.
Research - Group - Exeter - University - Project
The research group from Exeter University behind the project earned a gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston for their creation.
The gold medal is Exeter's fifth consecutive gold medal in the iGEM competition, which this year attracted more than 300 teams from around the world.
'It - Culmination - Summer - Experiences - Team
'It's the culmination of a summer full of new experiences in team work, organisation and discovery in synthetic biology,' said team member Juliana Sackey.
'It was a great ending to our trip to Boston and we'd like to say a big thank you to our supervisors at...
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