© NASA from Unsplash

SyMSE: Symbiotic Machines for Space Exploration

March 1 2022

Atmospheric Trilogy

Humans are now drivers of environmental change on a scale that is unique in Earth’s history. Anthropocentric landscapes are characterised by reduced biodiversity and deteriorated ecosystems. In the meantime preparations are being made for lunar and Martian habitats, requiring a tremendous advancement in the methods and instrumentation of ecosynthesis. 

How will scientists and engineers working with artists and designers accomplish this pivotal endeavour? The urge to explore essentially uninhabitable environments is an important stimulus towards a metabolic approach in design and materials science. 

Symbiotic Machines for Space Exploration (SyMSE) is a project, by Ivan Henriques, that aims to create an autonomous system for enhancing terrestrial ecosystems and facilitating atmospheric formation on other planets through artificial photosynthesis. The bio-drone titled C-DER, e-seed and a kinetic sculpture titled Bacterbrain are the three SyMSE’s outcome and the continuation of the bio-machines created by Ivan Henriques.

C-DER, 2017-19

Environmental Robotics

 

The bio-drone C-DER operates as a swarm and has a dual function. In one hand it is capable of change gases with the environment through micro-algae photosynthesis and harvest its electricity from this process and on the other hand it seeds the ground of endangered environments on Earth to help the atmosphere and possibly create an atmosphere on another planet via the seeding system and photosynthesis.

 

C-DER was developed by artist/designer Ivan Henriques, in collaboration with scientists Raoul Frese, Sandrine D’Haene, Granit Domgjoni - Biophysics department from VU Amsterdam, scientitsts Korneel Rabaey, Amanda Luther and Jan Arends from UGhent - CMET, hardware software designer Andjela Tomic, assistants Emiel Giliamse and Sjoerd Legue, engineer Leydervan Xavier - CEFET/RJ and Agata Maria Kokodziejcyk - Space Garden.

 

C-DER was supported by RTD -STW, Space Orbit Program - Gluon and Mondriaan Fonds.

Bozar Atmospheric Trilogy exhibition CDER project @lucile dizier 2019

Bozar AtmosphericTrilogy exhibition CDER project  @lucile dizier 2019
Bozar AtmosphericTrilogy exhibition CDER project @lucile dizier 2019
Bacterbrain graphic@IvanHenriques2018
Bacterbrain graphic@IvanHenriques2018

Bracterbrain, 2017-19

Interspecies Communication

 

Developed inside the research Environmental Robotics, the project BacterBrain regards automation of robotic structures with power provided by the metabolism of photosynthetic bacteria. This piece will investigate the change of robotics paradigms when a non-human living organism - the photosynthetic bacteria - finds new ways of connections and control of the kinetic structure, which will question the mental model of how robots operates. 

How would a robotic structure behave, sense and plan with a “brain” controlled by bacteria? 

The kinetic structure - a tensegrity model that combine traction and compression to give stability and resistance to the structure- will change autonomously with the electrical variation of the metabolisms of cyanobacteria and rodobacter spheroids. These colonies in combination will create a photosynthetic-microbial- fuel-cell that will generate power for the tensegrity model to move. Through the electrical variation that occurs, it will trigger the movement of the structure.  

 

The project Bacterbrain was developed by artist/designer Ivan Henriques, in collaboration with scientists from the Biophysics department from VU Amsterdam, scientists from UGhent - CMET, hardware software designer Andjela Tomic, assistants Emiel Giliamse and Sjoerd Legue, engineer Leydervan Xavier - CEFET/RJ and Agata Maria Kokodziejcyk - Space Garden/ESA.

 

The Bracterbrain was supported by RTD -STW, Space Orbit Program Gluon and Mondriaan Fonds.

Bozar Atmospheric Trilogy Exhibition Bacterbrain project detail @IvanHenriques 2019

e-SEED, 2018

Interspecies Communication

 

The e-SEED is a seed that uses electrical energy to stimulate its growth. The electrical energy is provided by synthetic photosynthesis. The e-SEED is a tiny timelapse in the photosynthesis evolution: from the robust first blue-green bacteria that created the early oxygenic atmosphere on Earth to a complex high plant in the form of a seed. Encapsulated into a bio-solar cell boosting its development, the seed brings hope on lifeless grounds.

 

e-SEED was developed by artist/designer Ivan Henriques, assistant Emiel Gilijamse and scientist Sandrine D’Haene from the Biophysics department - VU Amsterdam.

 

The e-SEED was supported by RTD -STW, Space Orbit Program Gluon and Mondriaan Fonds.

e-SEED graphic@IvanHenriques2018

Moon Gallery Exhibition at ESTEC-ESA e-SEED project@IvanHenriques2019

Related events

Related articles

Installation work for the 23rd International Exhibition are in progress: the exhibition spaces and ticket office will be closed until July 15. Triennale Estate programming continues in the garden with meetings, events, DJ sets.

Discover more
Sitemap