NASA scientists have designed an inflatable greenhouse that astronauts could one day use to grow fresh food and produce oxygen on Mars or Moon.
This ‘Prototype Lunar Greenhouse’ involves an inflatable, deployable greenhouse to support plant and crop production for nutrition, air revitalisation, water recycling and waste recycling.
The Prototype Lunar/Mars Greenhouse project uses what’s called “bioregenerative life support system” that mimics Earth’s environment to be able to grow plants outside our planet.
The prototype involves an inflatable, deployable greenhouse to support plant and crop production for nutrition, air revitalization, water recycling and waste recycling. The process is called a bioregenerative life support system.
The new approach uses plants to scrub carbon dioxide, while providing food and oxygen.
Astronauts exhale carbon dioxide, which is then introduced into the greenhouse, and the plants then generate oxygen through photosynthesis.
The water cycle begins with water that is brought along or found at the lunar or Martian landing site. Water is oxygenated, given nutrient salts, and it continuously flows across the root zone of the plants and returned to the storage system.
Tests involving the Prototype Lunar Greenhouse at the University of Arizona in the U.S. have included determining what plants, seeds or other materials should be taken along to make the system work.
NASA’s ‘Veggie Plant Growth System’ was the first American-built, fresh-food growth experiment on the station. It helped continue research for the development of food production systems for long-duration exploration missions. This work is part of Kennedy’s efforts in plant research and production of food for exploration missions as directed by Human Research Project and the Space Life Physical Science Division.