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NASA to Grow Plants on Moon

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American scientists prove the possibility that soon the plants can be grown in the greenhouses on the Moon or on Mars. Researchers in the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center have shown how astronauts can be provided with fresh vegetables and herbs using the hydroponic method.

NASA to Grow Vegetables and Herbs on Moon

NASA to grow plants on moon

The greenhouse on an experimental run

In the CEAC Extreme Climate Lab a team of scientists has designed a prototype of the emissions, which can be used on other planets. This greenhouse is composed of a set of pipe length of 18 feet (about 5.5 meters), which can enter into a possible lunar base. The system will be located beneath the surface of the satellite to minimize the harmful effects of cosmic rays and solar radiation on plants and astronauts. It will also be protected from micrometeorites.

In order to keep the module suitable for flights to other planets, it is covered with a protective sheath and fold. As a result, it takes the shape of a disk with a diameter of about 1.2 meters. The module consists of a sodium discharge lamp with hydrocooling and the envelopes containing the seeds. Seeds are prepared for growth in a hydroponic system.

The Lunar greenhouse was designed and constructed by Sadler Machine Co. According to the head of company, Phil Sadler, ten minutes after deploying the module to the lamp water starts flowing. And after 30 days there will be fresh plants in the greenhouse.

The main specialist of the project Gene Giacomelli adds that the greenhouse can be considered as robotic mechanism generating drinking water, vegetation, and hence, oxygen. The system includes sensors to collect information, algorithms, analyzing data about the module, as well as systems to improve the performance of the greenhouse.

The prototype uses carbon dioxide, which is fed to it from the tanks, but in the “moon” reality it will be enough to have carbon dioxide that comes from astronauts’ breathing. Instead of sodium lamps there can be used fiber optic cable. As a result, the plants in the greenhouse with a total mass of about 100 kg can produce about 50 liters of water and approximately 340 g of oxygen during 24 hours, using 100kW of electric power and about 450 grams of carbon dioxide.

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Alicia Kim

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