This project is solving the Deployable Greenhouse challenge.
Our challenge was to develop a conceptual design of a deployable greenhouse that could be used for pre-deployment on a space mission to the Moon or Mars. We addressed it with a modular solution called My Space Plant Pod Project. This modular solution allows for low infrastructure, low building structure and high efficiency. Simple inflatable domes with pre-fertilized grow medium from the labs of RIT allow for easy deployment. Simply prime with water and fill to optimal 02 and C02 levels.
^Our Prototype Developed During the Space Apps Challenge Event
This creates individualized terrariums tailored to suit each individual organism. When the plant is ready for harvest, only one dome atmosphere is breached allowing for the preservation of other dome atmospheres. All of the atmospheric monitoring and growth monitoring can happen from earth. This opens new ground for more accessible experimentation and even allows the public to interact with astronauts from school settings.
Our project creates individualized terrariums for specific organisms. This allows for the testing of multiple variables against the growth of the plant. For example, it is known that corn grows faster in more C02 rich environments. We will be able to test air ratios and light exposure ratios to optimize photosynthesis, as well as harvest oxygen and create crops that can be replicated in extreme environments on earth.
We picked this challenge because taking technology and applying it to low-tech areas has been a passion of our team. We have worked in ergonomics applying this same notion. However, this project is a response to our involvement with entrepreneurial vertical farming enthusiasts. We have been inspired by the creation of life and the ability to grow in areas that were once deemed impossible. We are continuously intrigued by the ability to spread knowledge and life-filled sustenance at the same time.
Our project was intended to benefit the astronauts with a viable, low input, maximum – yield food source, air-scrubbing/ oxygen generating system, experimentation platform and a very domesticated activity to help combat homesickness.
Tethering our terrarium pods to shuttles/ the ISS, that are controlled and monitored by Open Hardware enables a connection back to schools on Earth. Imagine schools sponsoring the soilless grow mats in which plants will grow from in our terrarium pods. Since these pods can be remotely monitored and controlled, classrooms now can not only have a class pet, but also now have a class plant....that's in SPACE...Feeding Astronauts! Kids could control the water and air to the plants and watch them grow, while also being informed of the an astronauts diet and technology that is making that possible for them to reach the plant pods, the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Bringing Open Hardware Technology in space we believe this will inspire and have more kids and people asking for this technology as a present to start tinkering and learning for a better more advanced tomorrow. We can just hear the kids talking about, "My Space Plant Pod Project"
Project InformationLicense: Common Development and Distribution License
Source Code/Project URL: https://github.com/sajingeo/ms3p
ResourcesNASA - http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/biomed/marsdome/index.html
Japanese bio-expert showcases novel soil-less cultivation technology - http://www.ecofriend.com/japanese-bio-expert-showcases-novel-soil-less-cultivation-technology.html
Webcam and Raspberry Pi - http://pingbin.com/2012/12/raspberry-pi-web-cam-server-motion/
Water in Space - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMie3QBH9LA
Inflatable Transparent Structures for Mars Greenhouse Applications - http://data.spaceappschallenge.org/ICES.pdf
PiLink - http://spaceappschallenge.org/project/pispicommlink/