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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Asteroid Garden  
  A method for building a greenhouse on a small, airless body.  

Now he started unrolling great bolts of a transparent, wire-strengthened plastic. Patching with an adhesive where explosion-rents had to be repaired, he cut hundred-yard strips, and, with Rose's help, laid them edge to edge and fastened them together to make a continuous sheet. Next, all around its perimeter, he dug a shallow trench. The edges of the plastic were then attached to massive metal rails, which he buried in the trench.

"Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey," he growled to Rose. "Next we fit in the airlock cabinet, at one corner. Then we've got to see if we can get up enough air to inflate the whole business. That's the tough part—the way things are...."

After the massive airlock was in place, they attached their electrolysis apparatus to the small atomic battery, which had been used to run the well-driller. The well was in the area covered by the sheet of plastic, which was now propped up here and there with long pieces of board from the great box. Over their heads, the tough, clear material sagged like a tent-roof which has not yet been run up all the way on its poles.

From Asteroid of Fear, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Planet Stories in 1951
Additional resources -

Eventually, the bubble-like structure was fully inflated:

In their great plastic greenhouse, supported like a colossal bubble by the humid, artificially-warmed air inside it, long troughs were filled with pebbles and hydroponic solution. And therein tomatoes were planted, and lettuce, radishes, corn, onions, melons—just about everything in the vegetable line...

Under ideal conditions, the inside of the great bubble was soon a mass of growing things. Rose had planted flowers—to be admired, and to help out the hive of bees, which were essential to some of the other plants, as well. Nor was the flora limited to the Earthly. Some seeds or spores had survived, here, from the mother world of the asteroids...

Sometimes John Endlich was misled. Sometimes, listening to familiar sounds, and smelling familiar odors, toward the latter part of his reprieve, he almost imagined that he'd accomplished his basic desires here on Vesta—when he had always failed on Earth.

There was the smell of warm soil, flowers, greenery. He heard irrigation water trickling. The sweetcorn rustled in the wind of fans he'd set up to circulate the air. Bees buzzed. Chickens, approaching adolescence, peeped contentedly as they dusted themselves and stretched luxuriously in the shadows of the cornfield.

For John Endlich it was all like the echo of a somnolent summer of his boyhood. There was peace in it: it was like a yearning fulfilled. An end of wanderlust for him, here on Vesta. In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Asteroid of Fear
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Asteroid of Fear
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

Asteroid Garden-related news articles:
  - Are Human Settlements On Asteroids Possible?

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