The context for this module is the recent development of synthetic leaves and their possible uses. In this module, one particular use will be explored; a way of using synthetic leaves to develop a self-sustaining life support system for colonization in space. The students, working in teams, act as researchers who are developing a proposal to submit for a research funding grant.

Their aim is to design a prototype self-sustaining unit that relies on the use of synthetic leaves. Using their knowledge and understanding of the underlying science, the students should explain the processes of photosynthesis and respiration, and how they are interrelated. The teams will need to be able to demonstrate that they can support their proposals with both their own scientific enquiries and a clear analysis of the secondary data provided for them. Each team’s final proposal will be summarized in a poster, and supported by a short oral presentation.