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 -
Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.
Underwater Balloon Gardens
'He puffed heavily as he angled around the bulbous lifezones...'- Gregory Benford, 1989.
Do Mutant Chickens Offer 'Maximum, Diabolical Meatiness'?
'They've got ones that specialize in drumsticks too...'- Margaret Atwood, 2003.
Vat-Grown Burgers Getting Cheaper
'They gotta raise a whole animal for years and then they kill it. ' William Gibbons, 1984.
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.
Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'
Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'
Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!
Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?
Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'
World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'
Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'
Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.
See LG OLED Wallpaper - Amazing Video
'... television that unrolled like a poster.'
Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
"...establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"
Ekso Works Industrial Exoskeleton
'Earth's scientists [devised] rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'
Mother Robot Evolves Her Children
'The Robot Mother... the most dangerous thing in creation.'
Cheetah 2 Robot Now Leaps Obstacles To Get You
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
Xiaoice Will Text You And Be Your Friend
'If you spoke English, results might be whimsical...'
Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
'Numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smart coral reef...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories