Inflatable Transparent Structures for Mars Greenhouse Applications 2005-01-2846
It is proposed to employ a greenhouse for life support on the Martian surface to reduce the equivalent system mass (ESM) penalties encountered with electrical crop lighting. The ESM of a naturally lit plant growth system compares favorably to an electrically lit system when corrections for area are made based on available light levels. A transparent structure should be more efficient at collecting insolation than collectors due to the diffusivity of the Mars atmosphere and inherent transmission losses encountered with fiber optics. The need to provide a pressurized environment for the plants indicates the use of an inflatable structure. Materials and design concepts are reviewed for their applicability to an inflatable greenhouse.