This project is solving the Deployable Greenhouse challenge.
There are a few problems in constructing a Greenhouse for another planet :
- The temperature will be too low or high for the electronics
- The space radiation will be devastating.
- The lack of O2, N2 and other gases important for life.
- The travelling between planets/space objects.
- The lack of sunlight on the distant planets
According to NASA there are solutions for the enormous space radiation and the devastating temperature, so we focused on the other problems, and we designed and constructed GhOST - Greenhouse Open Source Technology .
We decided to build small sized GhOST with wheels because in the future many GhOSTs can be launched, every one with different plant, so if accident happen, we will have only few GhOSTs damaged therefore we increase our chance of success. On the other hand every greenhouse will contain different plant, so the inside conditions will be strictly set for the needs of the plant. When the GhOSTs arrive, they will need a power station, and every GhOST will bring enough O2,CO2,N2, H20 and energy to land and find the station, then it can be recharged again and again with energy, water and gases. The station will contain the oxygen produced by the plants, so when people arrive on the planet they will just connect their station with the Power station. The Power station will have solar panels to collect energy from the sun and recharge the GhOSTs batteries. Every GhOST will have Solar panels too, but if the power from the sun is not enough the battery will help. We have put under consideration the idea for inflatable greenhouse, but for now we are thinking about reconstructing the GhOSTs in the Power station by robotic mechanism and using universal elements, so if something happens with a GhOST, it can be recycled and put into another device, that way we can construct everything with minimum resources.
We've taken into account the future development of this project on the Earth, so we have chosen Arduino DUE (Cheap and userfriendly) for receiving data from sensors and control the inside environment. To make it easier to be controlled we designed an application for Android Devices that receives data from Arduino, show them on the display, and writes a chart about the temp, humidity, barometric pressure. Moreover we made the Android controlling Arduino with the same application. Also the device can be controlled with USB keyboard, and the data is sent to a computer via serial port. In short future we will make a site for displaying data and controlling our GhOST.
For the Experiment shown in the Video we planted Beans in our GhOST prototype at 26.04.2013, and follow their growth.
More Information About the GhOST Concept Design ( Google Sketch Up File - GhOST.skp)
Why 4 different sections - the right section is an airlock between the main section(with the plants) and Mars atmosphere.They are connected with valve. The left section is connected to the main section with compressor separator, which will separate the O2 from the other gases and will store it until the GhOST is connected to the Power Station. The Bottom section is for storing water, when water is need a pump will transport it to the top water tank and then it will be distributed to the plants. The unnecessary water will be brought back to the bottom section through holes.
About the heating of the GhOST - We conducted an experiment with the RGB LEDs and about 15 % of the energy used is transformed into heat. So we can use many LEDs for light and heat in the main section of the GhOST. For extra heating can be used microwaves or IR LEDs.
Why no solar light passes to the plants - Because it's not worth it. We will have much better results if we transform the energy from the sun into electric and then again into light. The best construction is fully isolated construction.
Why the construction is not inflatable - We are looking for proper materials to make it with inflatable roof. In the future the GhOST will look like flying saucer, and when it is necessary they will become bigger. We have discussed the idea of 3 layer (elastic material - air - elastic material) construction, but it is not that viable isolation for temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius and Space radiation.
The Space Radiation - According to NASA the space radiation on Mars surface is devastating, because there is no magnetic magnetic field. So we decided to use a system that consists of a material full of piezo crystals, working on frequency close to the frequency of space radiation, and using the effect of wave diffraction, the construction will reflect the radiation.
The Android remote control and data visualisation - We use Android because 70% of the smart phones use Android, it is easy to use, stable platform for universal purposes, so our Application is written in Java for Android. In the future there will be 2 versions one for the NASA Admins and one for the ordinary man who is curious about the pants on the red planet. We made our Arduino Due read data from USB keyboard, so it can be controlled manually via keyboard.
Full autonomic system ? When ? - We are uploading data for different plants in our Android application 24/7. Soon our data base will have enough information to grow a plant without human help. It will collect data for the full life cycle from the day 0 to the day of the harvesting.
Robotic harvesting - A second bigger station can be launched to Mars - The Harvesting Station. When the plants are ready to be harvested the GhOST will go to the Harvesting station and where robots will harvest the crops and then the GhOST will be replanted.
The Soil - The soil we are using in our experiment is synthetic, but there are experiments with sand soil and rocks, with the enough amount of minerals and water, every soil can be made suitable for growing plants.
GhOST on the Earth - The answer is in our video. For about $500 everyone can buy materials and assemble his/her Home Greenhouse. In the future it will be part of Smart home technologies.
In conclusion - this is our project, it is not something special, it is something that we created for less than 20 days. We hope that our idea will inspire the great scientists and lead the human beings to another planets, another worlds, to explore, to create, and I believe that one day our dream will come true.
Special thanks to: Tanya Ivanova (Bulgarian Academy of Science), Yordan Naydenov (Bulgarian Academy of Science), Rosislava Borisova (TrainSoft), Simeon Yanchev (Robotev.com)
Project InformationLicense: GNU General Public License
Source Code/Project URL: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8wUW9gi5NSjMzM4NDBEZi1PZDQ&usp=sharing
ResourcesPresentation for locals - http://prezi.com/i4awgyx7lo4f/ghost/
Arduino IDE 1.5.2 - Windows - http://downloads.arduino.cc/arduino-1.5.2-windows.zip
GhOST Keyboard Control Arduino Sketch - https://github.com/StarbuckBG/GhOST_Keyboard/blob/master/GhOST_Keyboard.ino
GhOST Android Visualisation Arduino Sketch - https://github.com/StarbuckBG/GhOST_Android/blob/master/GhOST_Android.ino
Google Sketchup Free - http://www.sketchup.com/intl/en/download/gsu.html
GhOST Sketchup Design - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8wUW9gi5NSjN2ZWZTZRU0ZabUE/edit?usp=sharing
Facebook Product Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-Space-Apps-Challange-2013/522895771085601?ref=ts&fref=ts
Android App Eclipse Files - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8wUW9gi5NSjYS1UZU55am9HUkE/edit?usp=sharing
Android APK - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8wUW9gi5NSjbFhSN2VDTlF0MU0/edit?usp=sharing