Space Agriculture For Long-Term Space Exploration
Space agriculture is the declared goal of Canadian researchers at the University of Guelph. “Space agriculture is what’s required for long-term space exploration,” Mike Dixon, director of the controlled environment systems research facility at the University of Guelph, said Tuesday during a space conference in Montreal. “We can’t afford to keep shipping water, oxygen and Kraft dinner to the moon indefinitely.”
Dixon and his team are building a five-foot-square sealed chamber built of stainless steel, Teflon and glass. Gloves built into the box lets the team work on plantings without contamination. Since it would take about ten such boxes to feed an astronaut, the Canadian researchers hope to find ways to produce a higher yield with less water, oxygen and atmospheric pressure.
“We want to grow the first plant on the moon. That’s a Canadian space first that we can actually aspire to,” Dixon said in an interview. “Let’s face it, the next worse place after a snowbank in Canada to do controlled-environment plant production has got to be the moon.”Growing food in space would allow crews to embark on longer expeditions to the moon or even the Red Planet. The plants would be grown in a greenhouse that would provide food, potable water and oxygen as well as recycle carbon dioxide and waste.
In response to criticism that the money could be better spent, Dixon said: "The socio-economic spinoffs are enormous. This is the next Canadarm," he said, referring to the Canadian-made mechanical arm used at the space station.
Dixon is presenting the research at a conference in Montreal. The space conference, the 37th Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research, has nearly 2,000 participants from 61 countries and runs until Sunday.
Science fiction fans are well aware of the potential uses for plants in space. Engineer and sf writer George O. Smith created the idea of "Martian sawgrass" to provide oxygen in his 1942 story QRM - Interplanetary.
Gregory Benford thought about lifezones, pod-like greenhouses that could be attached to the exterior of large space ships.
Update 04-May-2017: Take a look at the inflatable asteroid garden from Asteroid of Fear (1951) by Raymond Z. Gallun. End update.
Read more about Canadian program seeks to grow food in space (also in the Vancouver Sun.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/17/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?
Chowbotics Salad Robot, Sally
'... gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912.
Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1961.
In Vitro Meatballs For SciFi Spaghetti
'Large laboratories in every city had produced synthetic food and meats, grown in large test tubes..." - David H. Keller, 1933.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...'
JAXA's Int-Ball Drone To Follow Astronauts In Space Station
'I want you to build me some of those.'
Amazon Patents Annoying Robot That Follows You
'The... machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating...'
Hand Gestures And Body Poses Control Devices
'He waved his hand... the circuit switched...'
Rovable Robots Crawl Across Your Body
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'
Sansar Social Virtual Reality Platform In 2017?
'And just as a daydreamer forgets his actual surroundings, and sees other realities...'
Cellphone Harvests Power From Ambient Radio Signals And Light
A battery-free phone.
Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'
Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'
Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...
Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'
3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories