Integrated Multicropping of Beet and Lettuce and its Effect on Atmospheric Stability 2003-01-2357
It is understood that plants and microorganisms will be an intrinsic part of future advanced life support (ALS) systems. The photosynthetic process is uniquely able to provide food and water from transpiration, remove carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen. However, atmospheric management with typical monoculture batch plant growth is made difficult due to fluctuating rates of CO2 assimilation and O2 production during different phases of plant growth and development. Experiments on the effect of continuous production of multiple crops with rotational planting on atmospheric stability within a sealed environment were performed in the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility ambient pressure controlled environment chambers. Two of the ESA-MELiSSA candidate crops, beet and lettuce, were continuously grown with a ten day staggered planting interval, resulting in a plant canopy with all representative stages of physiological growth within a common atmosphere. The data will be discussed with respect to improving atmospheric stability during long-term crop production in advanced life support systems for the manned space program.