Using a vehicle similar to the Curiosity lander, a film greenhouse with flexible ribs would be carried to Mars. Upon landing, the compartment would release the greenhouse & it would expand. Environmental sensors would be mounted both inside & outside the greenhouse. Photosynthetic microorganisms would be released into the greenhouse where they would convert Mars atmosphere into a more Earth-like gas mixture. Existing software would monitor & control the greenhouse environment.

This project is solving the Deployable Greenhouse challenge.


One of the biggest challenges for manned flight to Mars and other bodies would be food and other consumable commodities to maintain bodily functions. Some have suggested terraforming before manned missions land. Rather than terraforming on a large scale, a small deployable greenhouse may be able to begin functioning in advance of humans landing. Photosynthetic bacteria and algae would produce oxygen in the greenhouse and would be ready for food crops when humans eventually get there. Using a vehicle similar to the Curiosity lander, all the sensors and mechanical equipment would be contained in the main body of the lander. Four solar panels the size of the deck of the lander would fold out to provide energy. The greenhouse itself would be carried, folded, in a compartment the size and position of the current MMRTS. Upon landing, the compartment would release the greenhouse and it would expand. The tower that holds the ChemCam would house the environmental sensors. Instead of wheels there would be explosive anchoring bolts that would pin the lander in place. A conveyor would take fragile containers of photosynthetic bacteria and algae to the greenhouse, where they would fall into the greenhouse and break open. Initailly, water would be obtained from ice held under the surface. Any movement and/or storage of water would by way of light weight plastic hoses and collapsible containers. As the system develops in the greenhouse, water will condense and will drain into receiving containers. The atmosphere would be cycled into the greenhouse by a low wattage fan. Monitoring and control of mechanical functions would use software such as a modification of the Garden Bilder app for iPhones that was created by Pete Kuhns. This software could be re-designed to control a greenhouse environment that interfaces with hardware (soil monitors/environment measuring equipment): the software would be the user interface for a series of hardware monitors inside the greenhouse.

The first version of the Garden Bilder app, which can be integrated into a lunar or martian greenhouse control system, can be viewed here:

Project Information

License: MIT License
Source Code/Project URL:


Mars Greenhouse Lander -