Satellite is in orbit and operational
An ESA mission is exploring the potential of space farming that could help food supply for future manned space missions. The prototype has been developed by ENEA, a biotechnology Italian laboratory, as part of its mission of transferring the results of scientific research to industry and public administrations with a sustainable economic development approach.
The micro-garden measures 30 x 10 x 10 cm and it is based on a closed-cycle hydroponic system guaranteeing a complete 20-day testing growth cycle of micro-vegetables, adequately selected from those best suited to withstand extreme extra-terrestrial conditions. Placed in a pressurized and confined environment, the micro-vegetable garden GREENCUBE, equipped with an integrated hi-tech sensor system for controlling environmental parameters, growth and health of plants, is designed to transmit to Earth, in complete autonomy, all the information acquired. It is mainly inspected about the responses of plants to extreme conditions.
The satellite carrying the garden is constituted by two main parts: one unit dedicated for an effective garden, plants, nutrients and sensors; while the other one will be occupied by the spacecraft management and control platforms necessary to the mission operative in-orbit. This satellite enables new data acquisition about the possibility of literally farming in space. This study could represent the basis for future possible development of much bigger cultivation at zero gravity supporting human explorations with a green touch. For example it could represent a turning point for deep space human future missions, like Mars exploration programs, in this case an own food production could mean a significant saving in mission stocks. An indirect possible goal of such a mission is the study of the possible advantages of a space farming and vegetable species answer to such a new environment.
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- 2023-02-04 04:06:43 UTC
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