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.
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 -
Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'- Larry Niven, 1970.
Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'- Robert Heinlein, 1950.
A Bloody Rare Vegan Burger
An Impossible Food, indeed.
Baidu Kuaisou Dune Poison Snooper Chopsticks
'Unobtrusive inspections with... snoopers... Will it be chaumas - poison in the food?'- Frank Herbert, 1965.
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.
DJI Phantom Drone Now With GPS Blocking
'Workarounds were illegal and the fines were expensive...'
OMOTE Face Hackers At Work Video
'...a video-manicuring program came on line.'
Vroom! Your Car Or Truck's Engine Noise Might Be Fake
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Care-O-Bot 4 Personal Service Robot
'Beside her moved a gleaming robant...'
Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'
EDSAP Wearable Stroke Detection
'His Altec cephalochromoscope, around which he had built the pleasure part of his schedule...'
Brand Killer Helmet Blocks Real-Life Ads
'Some merely held the holos [ads] at arm's length.'
In Vivo Micromotors Powered By Stomach Acid
First in vivo study of artificial micromotors.
Synthetic 'Squid Skin' For Camouflage On The Way
'The small, chameleon-clad figures continued to advance.'
3D Printer 'Teleports' Objects Like Simak's Way Stations
'An entirely new being but exactly like the old one'
Laser Etching Makes Metal Super-Hydrophobic
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'
Patient Walks Out With Fully Artificial Heart
'The throb of the robot pump gave him confidence...'
Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
An amazing lab-on-a-panel.
Nonhuman Artist Collective Keeps Robot Artist Earnings Until Legal
Pay the artists!
Argentine Orangutan Receives Basic Human Rights
'They wouldn't dare let the Fuzzies be proven sapient...'
Elon Musk, Google To Extend Internet Into Earth Orbit, Then Mars
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories