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 -
Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.' - Robert Heinlein, 1949.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...' - Anthony Boucher, 1943
Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
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.
SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'
Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'
Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.
Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'
Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'
Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'
Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'
BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'
IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories