• Hashtag= #deploygreen


    For prolonged manned missions to the Moon or Mars, non-perishable food supplies may be supplemented by regenerative life support systems, such as greenhouses, that produce food on the planet surface. These structures must be capable of being delivered, deployed, operated, and maintained in extreme environments. In addition, the presence of growing plants can have a positive psychological impact on explorers far from home.

    Challenge Description:

    Develop a conceptual design of a deployable greenhouse that could be used for pre-deployment on a space mission to the Moon or Mars.

    Functional Specifications:

    The design(s) should specify for which location the greenhouse is intended.

    Desirable features of the greenhouse include:

    • Small, stowage volume and mass
    • Deployable upon landing
    • Requires minimal resources for operations
    • Able to run at low pressure (e.g., ¼ atm to reduce leakage and structural requirements)
    • Has pre-planted media or growing system
    • Has a “priming” volume of water and required gases
    • Recycles the transpired water back to the roots (i.e., close the water loop)
    • Has a basic thermal control system, including internal air recirculation
    • Able to harvest and store O2 generated from plants
    • Uses insitu resources (water, atmosphere, etc)

    • Ideas to consider for greenhouse design:

    • The greenhouse could arrive at the planet/moon prior to astronauts arriving.
    • Inflatable
    • Robotic harvesting of the crops
    • One crop cycle per greenhouse and then shutting down
    • Drying crops in place (e.g., wheat, soybean, or potatoes)
    • Replanting capabilities (i.e. more than one crop)
    • Retrieving water and/or O2 in system prior to shut down
    • Supplying CO2 as plants grow
    • Opening thermal covers in day and closing the covers at night (see Mars Greenhouse Data presentation)
    • Generating photovoltaic power capable of running control systems and/or opening and closing covers
    • Viable as a kit for deployment in arid regions on Earth

    • Consideration if designing for Mars

    • CO2 could be used as a pressurizing gas to offset leakage

    The design(s) should specify for which location the greenhouse is intended (moon or Mars).


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  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

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