The synthetic material can photosynthesize and survive at zero gravity, creating new opportunities for space exploration

The Silk Leaf, by RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri, is the first manmade material that can perform photosynthesis. It has huge implications for science and technology and it could also make long-distance space travel a possibility.

The leaf contains chloroplasts taken from real plant cells. These are suspended in a silk protein material and when the material comes into contact with water and light, it converts it to oxygen, just like a natural leaf.

Melchiorri explains in a video made for Dezeen and MINI Frontiers:

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