Martian Gardens: Student Designs of Bio-Regenerative Life Support Systems in a 1st Year Undergraduate Seminar Course 2007-01-3065
The following abstract is that provided to first year undergraduate students as part of the recruitment effort for 1stYear Seminar Courses at the University of Guelph.
When humankind begins the colonization of the moon or Mars, we will be bringing along more of Earth than one might think. A number of space and government agencies around the world, including researchers at the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, University of Guelph, are involved in the design and engineering of self-contained ecosystems based on Earthly biological processes. These processes can be harnessed, with complementary physical and chemical technologies to support human life (food production, air revitalization, psychology) in the hostile conditions of space.
Using a problem based learning approach, students registered in this seminar course will study a variety of international projects devoted life support systems development including those of the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency and NASA. Students will rely on each other3s interdisciplinary background to design a Martian habitat and life support system that is sustainable, while meeting the challenges of keeping crew happy in a sealed environment. The political issues associated with human space exploration and the ethical questions it arises will be tackled using a variety of group discussions, presentations and debates.
The course instructors highly encourage enrolment from students with backgrounds and interest in a variety of disciplines including the life and physical sciences, the social sciences and engineering.