Local is all the rage!
We’ve mastered traveling to the moon and back, put probes on Mars, sent satellites into outer space, and yes, people have orbited the earth in a closed capsule for 6 months or more. But we still rely on productive capacity of our own planet to feed our astronauts. What about sustainably feeding our astronauts with space-grown produce?
Introducing ‘AstroPlant’, a hydroponics-based ‘plant characterisation’ kit to better understand how edible plants grow so we know how to feed our future Martians, Asgardians, and other future inhabitants of space. Imagine a closed ‘growbox’ with a plant inside and various sensors to monitor and control the environment (the temperature, humidity, etc).
A DIY kit of the growbox is sent to citizen explorers and students across the world, who will first connect the cables and learn how to build a simple hydroponics system. Then they will be engaged in the execution of experiments, making stop-motion animation of plant growth, and – clearly – making sure the plants do not die (although, this could be a possible outcome of an experiment). During the entire growth cycle, a lot of useful data is being collected and transmitted to ESA scientists. These data are essential to determine the plants to be part of the MELiSSA regenerative ecosystem. Moreover, the citizen-scientists grow their own knowledge about plants and space research in an interactive and engaging way.
We have started this project in collaboration with MELiSSA, which is an ESA (European Space Agency) consortium focused on realising sustainable extraterrestrial life. We’re currently developing the first prototype, if you want to join this ultimate quest for extra-terrestrial life… join us on Meetup!