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 | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Food ")

Cool Chaac Ha Dew Collector Video
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

Chaac Ha Dew Collector ala Dune
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

Underwater Balloon Gardens
'He puffed heavily as he angled around the bulbous lifezones...'- Gregory Benford, 1989.



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.






Current News

Algorithm Predicts Marriage Success (HAL 9000 Will See You Now)
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset....'

Denmark Island Earth (Verdenskortet ala Ringworld)
'They wanted to keep something of what they were losing...'

Humai Startup To Implant Your Brain In Robot Body
'The astounded onlookers saw a human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Blue Origin Reusable Rocket's Vertical Landing
We're getting there, one launch at a time.

X125 Snake-Arm Inspection Robot Video
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Super-Thin Smart Glazing Displays
'...a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling color.'

Have Scientists Found A Parallel Universe Leaking Into Ours
'Ellis had found a weak point, a shimmer, at which another continuum completely had been visible.'

Active Wellness Smart Car Seat
'Maybe the car was right...'

Tech Tats Prototype Sfnal Devices
'...Permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.