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13-Year-Old Israeli Girl Develops Satellite System for Producing Oxygen in Space

January 21, 2016 6:52 pm 74 comments
Budding Israeli scientist Roni Oron. Photo: Family picture.

Budding Israeli scientist Roni Oron. Photo: Family picture.

A 13-year-old Israeli girl has invented a system for the production of oxygen in space, the Hebrew youth paper Ma’ariv L’Noar reported on Thursday, along with an interview with the budding tween scientist from Ramat Hasharon.

The recent winner of the “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency, Roni Oron developed BioSat “to solve a problem for astronauts trying to prove that life on Mars is possible.”

Oron said her satellite is “built like a large bubble on one side of which there is a mirror and the other is transparent, enabling the penetration of sunlight. In the middle there is a capsule, which will be made of a membrane through which air can pass but water cannot. Inside of it there will be water and algae, and outside there will be carbon dioxide. Through a process of photosynthesis, the satellite will produce oxygen. There will be additional mirrors inside the satellite that will enable sunlight to reach the capsule, but not by direct radiation, which would harm the algae.”

Oron told Ma’ariv L’Noar about her parents’ support.

“My father, an orthopedist, was very happy when I began my research,” she said. “From my mother I learned the wisdom of looking at life creatively.”


  • The young lady may have a promising future in research, OR, she may end up in owning a bakery business. No way to know.

    NASA has been studying this for so many years I can’t Google back far enough to find the beginning! Just try “space research photosynthesis” and see what you get.

  • Barry Appleby

    This young girl’s idea just goes to show that a tiny minority comprising 0.2% of the current world population cannot afford to exclude women from access to higher education, given the present worldwide hostility to Jews and Israel.

  • well we all knew that plants use up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen its called photosynthesis … but none of us had this Idea she is Brilliant clever child

  • Now why didn’t I think of that. Brilliant.
    A genius scientist in the making.

  • Encouraging to see young people thinking outside of the box. I am in the space and communications industry in the UK and think that this girl has a bright future in whatever she turns her thoughts to. May Adonai bless you and your family continuously.

  • OK, but to do this what do we first need to get into space? H2O, CO2 and algae. Space is a vacuum so these are hardly plentiful!
    I’m sorry to quite literally burst your bubble but it would be cheaper and easier to do what the ISS is doing now.

    • Humanoid – The ISS uses electrolysis of water so it also has to get water into space. And because the hydrogen released is explosive, it must be vented into space. This system is sustainable.CO2 can pass through the membrane and be split into oxygen and free carbon by the algae. The free oxygen can pass through the membrane and be breathed and then the people breathing it exhale more CO2, etc.

    • Yechiel Shlipshon

      OK. You do not stop to think what if your system may have a bug in it? It is always good to have a backup system, and her system may lead to even better ones. Good going and HaShem’s blessings.

  • Trevor Morton

    This I really like. I am not a Jew just a teacher who sees and values talent and intelligence. Keep aiming for the stars young lady.

  • So basically we’re converting water into oxygen… Good thing that water is in such high supply on Mars? Or on satellites? The water there is self-generating, right?

    Anyway, makes for a cute story if one doesn’t think about it too much…

    • Actually, you should open a book and read about photosynthesis before opening your thoughts to the world and revealing your ignorance. Heck, just wiki it first. So full of negativity you are that you can’t appreciate this girl’s efforts.

    • That’s not the point. Water is a molecule with a low energetic state and if you can utilize the energy coming from the sun to break down the water into oxygen and hydrogen, you can basically recycle oxygen for use in space.

    • Fuzzy Curmudgeon

      Your reading comprehension level: FAIL

      It’s an air purification system that uses algae to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen via photosynthesis. It requires only sufficient water for the algae to grow, water that can be recovered and reused.

      Maybe you should start thinking more.

    • It actually makes a lot of sense. Storing a gas is complex (high pressure containment vessel required) and refrigeration systems to cool the oxygen below its boiling point of ~-300f are expensive, heavy, and are energy intensive.

      Photosynthesis is quite inefficient, and I’m not sure what advantages it has over electrolysis, but it’s better then bringing aboard pure oxygen.

      • Electrolysis per se may be more efficient than photosynthesis, but then what do you with the free hydrogen? It is an explosive hazard, so the ISS has to expel it into space. This makes electrolysis non-sustainable. Photosynthesis OTOH is a closed loop.

    • In the closed system of a spaceship or base on Mars, the astronauts use the oxygen and create CO2 and water that they release by breathing out, which supplies the plant. The water from the air can be collected by a system similar to an air conditioner. So actually, her idea is useful.

    • No, it’s just photosynthesis, as on Earth, but the container is new.

    • On the International Space Station, the primary way that oxygen is supplied is via electrolysis, using water.

      Roni Oron’s solution, as described above, may potentially prove to be more efficient or have some other benefit. But regardless, there already is a precedent for converting water to oxygen in space travel, and her contribution to humanity’s understanding of possible ways top accomplish this, at age 13, is very impressive.

  • The second day in a row where a young female is honored for her creativity in science. How wonderful is it that we are seeing such ideas coming from women in the area of physics and space. They are in colleges all over in graduate studies in those areas. Kudos to Roni and all those youngsters seeking the answers for the future.

  • Don`t let anything bad happen to this amazing girl

  • Meanwhile …. The Palestinian space program continues unabated….. What a contrast
    In youth…. Israeli children study science and the advancement of life… Arabs… Teach death.

    • The Palestine Space Program has been developing aimless rocket To Kill innocent Israeli civilians. If I could I would send them all to Mars.

  • And you telling me Jewish are not God children?

  • How will the water not freeze in the cold of space?

    • Easy, direct sunlight will prevent water from freezing with the help of the mirror and the biomass.

    • Space is a vacuum. Heat is only transfered by contact, and with nothing to transfer the heat to, space is actually a natural insulator. This is the same thing that makes thermoses work (there is vacuum between the inside and outside)

      • If that were true then heat from the sun would never reach the Earth. Heat is not only passed by contact, but also by radiation. Have you ever been out on a cold day, yet still felt the heat of the sun on your face?

      • Heat is also transferred by radiation, e.g., from the sun.

    • Perhaps the reflected sunlight takes care of that

    • The hardest part is keeping direct sun light from boiling it off into steam. Its cold in space, unless you are in direct sun light, then you better have shielding from the heat.

  • Brilliant. So simple, so safe, so useful. You are a light to the world; and you are seen. It’s not often world news makes me smile. Thank you. Shalom.

  • A clever solution :) Let’s see about implementation!!

  • Congratulations, young Israeli lady! You have made all of us deeply proud of you, and of Israel, where young intellects like yours are encouraged, and do flourish!

  • another blessing for the world. from a young girl. Hashem has blessed her.

  • geoffrey ben-nathan

    Roni Oron is a breath of fresh air – figuratively and literally!

  • This is the difference between the Israeli society and the Palestinian.

    Israeli society encourages creativity.

    Palestinian society encourages destruction.

    Israeli society works towards and celebrates life.

    Palestinian society worships death.

  • So it depends on sunlight, how far is the farthest from the sun will it work, and I take it that that the dark side of the planet it will not work. Will it be useful for space travel, or are the Suns to far and between to work.

  • Israelis keep up your good works and show them to the world in the face of what you go through on a daily basis. Sometimes that is all we can do during a time of hate. God sees! Doing so is wisdom!

  • israel has some really bright people,happy for her,i guess her invention trumps the clock,will she be invited to the white house,doubt it, she”s not muslim,

  • This explain more than we can think of – the difference between jews and Arabs. Jews has as far as I know, have had impulses of reseaching after New ways to solv problems. As looking behind obstacles and reached possible other answers. While the muslims seldom look for New answers, except ways to kill – in what they belive are the purposes of their life according to their green books…

    • Muslims do not just find new ways to kill. Isis and these other terrorist organisations are NOT Muslims. One of the first teachings of Islam is “do not kill” and it is certainly one of the most important ones.
      Muslims do not want to kill! Just because some groups call themseleves Muslims, doesn’t mean that all Muslims are killers. The amount of Muslims who have lost their homes during recent conflicts and because of terrorist ‘Muslims’ is phenomenal so don’t even try to convince me otherwise. Many scientists are Muslims and they do more than you can say for humankind and Earth.

      • Lessee…there are 1.4 billion Muslims, and barely 16 million Jews.

        Muslims have produced all of 12 Nobel prize winners. only three in the sciences. And the 12 includes Yasser Arafat and Iran nuclear enabler Mohamed El Baradi as well as Anwar Sadat (murdered by Muslims) and Najid Mafooz, who was almost murdered by Muslims and instead was paralyzed for life. So we’re actually talking about 7, only two of them from the sciences.

        Jewish Nobel Prizes, even with Norway’s poisonous political climate towards Jews and Israel? 193, 22% or all honorees, 146 of them from the Sciences, including the most of any group when it comes to prizes for Medicine. There isn’t a single Muslim with a prize in that category.

        Israel by itself, a country not even 70 years old and surrounded by enemies has won over a dozen Nobel prizes, fourteen if you count Israeli citizens living abroad like Michael Levitt . That nation enlightens the world with discoveries that save lives, make the desert bloom, provide high tech solutions for industry and everyday life and cures diseases.

        No Muslim nation comes close.

        I have nothing against Muslims per se, but any honest reading of the Qu’ran and Hadiths is very clear about killing non-believers. Saying that ISIS, Al Nusrah, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah,Boko Haram and the Taliban among others aren’t Muslims is just as dishonest and self servings as saying that all Muslims are murderers.

        Perhaps if peaceful decent Muslims were more forceful in taking action against these groups and more outspoken in denouncing them that might be different. But for the most part,they aren’t and unfortunately, the mud sticks

  • Naomi Lieberman

    What a great idea. I hope this is the first of many for you!

  • The BDS movement responds:

  • Amazing!!! Your parents must be so proud just think of all the amazing things you will do in your life time. This is just the begining.

  • Wouuu..!

    Israel and its people can give us so much.!
    as Yah Elohim.!

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This creative, highly innovative contribution to space technology comes from the mind of a most talented original thinker!

  • Palestinians please note what a 13 year old should be encouraged to do.

  • How amazing is that. How brilliant to come up with such a wonderful idea. I pray this is only the beginning of a wonderful Career. Blessing. Shalom.

  • now that is what jews call a clock!

  • Sure…nice…but is it a clock? LOL

  • What an extraordinary young lady with lateral thinking?

  • This is simply wonderful. VEELNEEL KINGS and PRIEST welcmes such a star. Make the world joyful dear.

  • Paula Goldman

    You are truly a Wonder Woman. May you continue on to even greater scientific works and discoveries.

  • This is typical of Israel creativeness verses destructiveness all around the world. What would the world do without Israel. G-D bless her

  • Make sure the BDSers of the world are prevented from using all or any part of the technology. Good Shabbos to all.

  • What? No European boycott yet? No U.S. State Dept. condemnation of this young Israeli’s work for somehow precluding Palestinians from breathing in outer space?

    Where are John Kerry and Ban-Ki-Moon when you really need them?

  • Kol Hakavod!

  • Promising approach, but needs work. Zero gravity behavior of liquids and gases needs to be considered. Pressure differentials need to be taken into account. First application could be on Earth, in mines, upon emergencies but when light is not shut off. Osmotic membranes tend to clog and algae cling to surfaces. Prevention or easy cleaning or replacement are necessities. Throughput is a question: how big a system will be necessary for an adequate supply of oxygen?

    As said, beautiful starting point and approach, indeed the 1% inspiration Edison spoke of, that now needs to be followed by the 99% of perspiration.

    Keep it up!!!

  • What a shining light this girl is. Her parents must be so proud.

  • Michael Bonato

    Good on you girl, you are intelligent and have a lot to offer humanity, your life path is blessed, keep up the good work.


    Keep up the good work! God bless you. You’re a genius blessed by God.

  • Rakesh Mallick

    Absolutely Amazing.

  • Paul Saunders

    Congratulations young lady Ma’ariv L’Noar. Very good work. U wush i was that smart at your age. All I can say is keep up and reach for the stars. B’H Shalom and Happy Shabbat as well. from North Bay Ontario Canada. :)

  • amazing!! kol hakavod, BH< what a blessing.

  • wisdom of shlomo solomom handed down

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