A 13-year-old Israeli girl has invented a system to produce oxygen in outer space, the Israeli youth magazine Ma’ariv L’Noar reported.
The magazine interviewed Roni Oron, who recently won a “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency in a competition for teenagers ages 12-15. The contest required the teens to build a model for a satellite that could change the face of today’s research and humanity.
Oron developed a prototype of a satellite called “BioSat” in order to “solve a problem for astronauts trying to prove that life on Mars is possible.” She explained that her satellite is “built like a large bubble on one side of which there is a mirror and the other is transparent, enabling the penetration of sunlight. In the middle there is a capsule, which will be made of a membrane through which air can pass but water cannot. Inside of it there will be water and algae, and outside there will be carbon dioxide. Through a process of photosynthesis, the satellite will produce oxygen. There will be additional mirrors inside the satellite that will enable sunlight to reach the capsule, but not by direct radiation, which would harm the algae.”
The teenager also reflected on the support her parents have given her in the endeavour. “My father, an orthopedist, was very happy when I began my research. From my mother I learned the wisdom of looking at life creatively,” she said.
Now that she has won the competition, Oron will travel to a NASA summer camp in Florida later this year.
“This will be sort of a beginning for the development of this idea, a kind of camp in which you meet with many astronauts and [other] teens. We will arrive there as guests of honour, stay there until very late hours to develop the satellite, and then we’ll see where it goes,” she said.