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How to synthesize C6H12O6 on the moon

  1. Sep 15, 2009 #1
    Astronauts spending any significant time on the Moon, and later on trips to Mars, will need to synthesize C6H12O6 and other sachharides for food. Is there any other way then using photosynthesis, using either sunlight or artificial light? Where does most of the CO2 for photosynthesis come from; from the space ship air, urine, or feces? Will plants be the primary way for removing CO2 from the air? Is there any food-related protein, vitamin, or mineral that is not available by recycling waste? Is there a better photosynthesis cycle than the Calvin cycle? See
    Bob S
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2009 #2


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    I think plants would be the best way of synthesizing glucose (or, more likely, sucrose or some other disaccharide), but there have been ways to artificially synthesize glucose from various precursors since the mid 1800s:
    http://www.brocku.ca/chemistry/faculty/Hudlicky/ChemRev-1996-96-1195.pdf [Broken]

    Fun(?) Fact: The Chemistry building at my University is named after a chemist (and department chair) who was one of the first to synthesized sucrose:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Sep 25, 2009 #3
    Hi Matlabdude-
    Thanks very much for your post. It appears that all the carbon that astronauts use for food on the Moon will have to be carried with them, because there is no known source on the Moon. I looked over the paper in your URL, and began to appreciate the difficulties in finding alternate methods of manufacturing sachharides. Because most (all?) of the carbon byproduct of food metabolism is exhaled as CO2, photosynthesis of CO2 is still the best route to create more sachharides.
    Bob S
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