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NASA Designs Inflatable Greenhouse to Help Astronauts Live on Mars

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At the University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system. (University of Arizona)
At the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system. (University of Arizona)

 

NASA has developed an inflatable greenhouse capable of sustaining life for years by growing produce in space.

While getting to Mars might be the difficult part of a mission, sustaining life on the Red Planet once astronauts get there is a major concern. So, NASA teamed up with researchers from the University of Arizona’s agriculture department to solve that problem.

The prototype, which covers 126 square feet, would sustain a vegetarian diet for astronauts living in on the Moon or Mars. On top of providing food, the greenhouse could be used for “air revitalization, water recycling, and waste recycling. The process, called “a bioregenerative life support system,” basically just recreates the environment on Earth, according to a NASA press release.

Through the design and construction of an innovative hydroponic plant growth chamber, the Prototype Lunar Greenhouse is designed to sustain a continuous vegetarian diet for astronauts on distant locations such as the moon or Mars. It employs plants and crop production designed to provide not only food, but air revitalization, water recycling and waste recycling. (University of Arizona)
Through the design and construction of an innovative hydroponic plant growth chamber, the Prototype Lunar Greenhouse is designed to sustain a continuous vegetarian diet for astronauts on distant locations such as the moon or Mars. (University of Arizona)

 

Astronauts exhale carbon dioxide that’s used by plants for photosynthesis, which creates oxygen as a byproduct. Water for the plants, either brought along or found on site, would be oxygenated, mixed with nutrients, then pumped into a stream where the roots lie—acting as the soil.

Universiy of Arizona scientists are researching the best types of seeds for plants to grow in this environment, while astronauts are gaining experience by growing plants on the space station.

 

At the University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system. (University of Arizona)
At the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system.
(University of Arizona)
Aboard the International Space Station, astronauts have been gaining experience in growing crops in space. Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA harvests lettuce from the Veggie experiment on Dec. 2, 2016. The Veggie Plant Growth System is a deployable plant growth unit capable of producing salad-type crops to provide the crew with a palatable, nutritious and safe source of fresh food. (NASA)
Aboard the International Space Station, astronauts have been gaining experience in growing crops in space. Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA harvests lettuce from the Veggie experiment on Dec. 2, 2016. (NASA)
At the University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system. (University of Arizona)
At the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, an 18 foot long, 7 foot, 3 inch diameter lunar greenhouse chamber is equipped as a prototype bioregenerative life support system. (University of Arizona)

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