Mycelium Martian Dome Project
Tosca’s residency at MoCA in partnership with the Ontario Science culminates with the Mycelium Martian Dome project installation at the Ontario Science Centre for the summer of 2019.
An 8’x16’ geodesic dome grown from living mycelium. Inside, a living mycelium sculpture generates sounds (bio-sonification) that are translated to MIDI creating a non-human derived soundscape. Visitors may interact with the Mycelium sculpture, having their bio-data read and translated through the fungus.
The European Space Agency is exploring whether fungi could be used to grow buildings, like labs and other facilities, in space. Nasa is also examining whether their Mars missions could grow surface structures on the planet itself. NASA are considering producing on Earth a flexible plastic shell seeded with mycelium and then activating the fungal growth once on Mars.
Mycelium provides a golden example of a circular economy. Waste comes in as input for the mycelium and the resulting material is potentially biodegradable, just like wood. Mycelium has amazing properties. It is a great recycler, as it feeds off a substrate (like sawdust or agricultural waste) to create more material, and has the potential of almost limitless growth in the right conditions. It can endure more pressure than conventional concrete without breaking, is a known insulator and fire-retardant and could even provide radiation protection on space missions.
Human exploration of space requires minimal volume and mass of materials to be transported from Earth. In situ manufacturing of fungal structures will require transporting a minimum amount of fungal spores to space which would then be used to inoculate local organic material for growing bio-composites in situ.
Tosca’s Mycelium Martian Dome project imagines what these structures might look like through a Science Fiction lens. How collaboration with non-human organisms can (re)connect humanity with Earth’s natural environment and each other.
Mycelium panels were grown into forms. The first triangular grow forms had backings. Later, we moved to triangular frames that we lined, sprayed down with ethanol and then packed them tightly with the GIY material. The most successful mycelium panels were those grown directly in/on to the Geodesic structure itself*. Within these particular frames, we added a wood lattice for the Mycelium to grow around, our thoughts were that this would add strength.
*If I can locate a permanent/forever home for the dome it is my wish to grow mycelium into all of the triangles. The acoustic properties alone are worth exploring!