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New Space Boots Made Of…Fungus and Human Sweat?

Image via BBC/George Elisworth

Fascinating to see what happens when design and science mix together! In 2016 the Museum of Modern Art asked designer Liz Ciokajlo to reimagine the moon boot, which was inspired by astronauts’ surprisingly fashionable boots on their mission to the moon in 1969. Instead of reworking the moon boot design, Ciokajlo flew her imagination to Mars and envisioned the fashions of future Martians. Her main focus was not necessarily on style or design, but on the production of these shoes for space travelers leaving a resource-starved Earth with limited luggage

Mycelium by Alex Hyde

Ciokajl’s space shoe is an all-natural boot made of the biomaterials of mycelium fungus and human sweat.Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungus, appearing as wide spread white veins that layer on top of soil. It rapidly grows in diverse environments, can be recycled and works as a fire retardant and insulator. Ciokaljo used this adaptable material because it can be grown on a spaceship for the duration of the 7 month flight to Mars and even used in building materials for a future Mars colony. As for the human sweat, astronauts already repurpose their sweat into drinking water, but the secreted liquid will also help mold and shape the mycelium into the appropriate shoe form.

Image via BBC/George Elisworth

You can see the Martian shoe on display at London Design Museum, or maybe even buy one for yourself in a few years when space travel becomes a reality.

 

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