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Journal Article

Sustained Salad Crop Production Requirements for Lunar Surface

A long-duration lunar outpost will rely entirely upon imported or preserved foods to sustain the crew during early Lunar missions. Fresh, perishable foods (e.g. salad crops) would be consumed by the crew soon after delivery by the re-supply missions, and can provide a supplement to the diet rich in antioxidants (bioprotectants) that would serve as a countermeasure to radiation exposure. Although controlled environment research has been carried out on the growth of salad crops under a range of environmental conditions, there has been no demonstration of sustainable production in a flight-like system under conditions that might be encountered in space. Several fundamental challenges that must be overcome in order to achieve sustained salad crop production under the power, volume and mass constraints of early Lunar outposts include; growing multiple species, sustaining productivity through multiple plantings, and minimizing time for crew operations.
Technical Paper

Yields Of Salad Crops Grown Under Potential Lunar Or Mars Habitat Environments: Effect Of Temperature And Lighting Intensities

Growth Temperatures And Lighting Intensity Are Key Factors That Directly Impact The Design, Engineering, And Horticultural Practices Of Sustainable Life-Support Systems For Future Long-Term Space Missions. The Effects Of Exposure Of Lettuce (Cv. Flandria), Radish (Cv. Cherry Bomb Ii). And Green Onion (Cv. Kinka) Plants To Controlled Environment Temperatures (Constant Day/Night Temperature Of 22, 25, Or 28 °C) And Lighting Intensities (8.6, 17.2, Or 25.8 Mol M−2 D−1 Photosynthetic Photon Flux [Ppf]) At Elevated Co2 (1200 µMol Mol−1) Was Investigated To Ascertain Overall Yield Responses. Following 35 Days Growth, The Yields Of Lettuce Indicated That Increasing The Growing Temperature From 22 To 28°C Slightly Increased The Edible Fresh Mass Of Individual Plants. However, Even Though Lettuce Plants Grown Under High Ppf Had The Highest Fresh Mass, The Resultant Increase In The Incidence And Severity Of Tipburn Reduced The Overall Quality Of The Lettuce Head.
Technical Paper

Baseline Environmental Testing of Candidate Salad Crops with Horticultural Approaches and Constraints Typical of Spaceflight

The first spaceflight opportunities for Advanced Life Support (ALS) Project testing with plants will likely occur with missions on vehicles in Low Earth Orbit, such as the International Space Station (ISS). In these settings, plant production systems would likely be small chambers with limited electrical power. Such systems are adequate for salad-type crops that provide moderate quantities of fresh, flavorful foods to supplement the crew diet. Successful operation of salad crop systems in the space environment requires extensive ground-based testing with horticultural methodologies that meet expected mission constraints. At Kennedy Space Center, cultivars of radish, onion, and lettuce are being compared for performance under these “flight-like” conditions.
Technical Paper

Low Pressure Greenhouse Concepts for Mars: Atmospheric Composition

The main principles of artificial atmospheric design for a Martian Greenhouse (MG) are described based on: 1. Cost-effective approach to MG realization; 2. Using in situ resources (e.g. CO2, O2, water); 3. Controlled greenhouse gas exchange by using independent pump in and pump out technologies. We show by mathematical modeling and numerical estimates based on reasonable assumptions that this approach for Martian deployable greenhouse (DG) implementation could be viable. A scenario of MG realization (in terms of plant biomass/photosynthesis, atmospheric composition, and time) is developed. A list is given of technologies (natural water collection, MG inflation, oxygen collection and storage, etc.) that are used in the design. The conclusions we reached are: 1. Initial stocks of oxygen and water probably would be required to initiate plant germination and growth; 2. Active control of MG ventilation could provide proper atmospheric composition for each period of plant growth; 3.
Technical Paper

Hydroponic Nutrient Solution Management Strategies for Optimizing Yield of Sweetpotato Storage Roots

Under certain nutrient solution management practices in hydroponic systems, sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] plants can exhibit excessive shoot growth and reduced storage root yield. An experiment was conducted which compared sweetpotato production in nutrient film technique (NFT) systems either with daily nutrient solution replenishment + real-time pH control or with nutrient solution replenishment 3-times per week + periodic pH adjustment. Results showed that replenishment of nutrient solution on a daily basis produced excessive foliage growth with very little storage root production. Nutrient solution replenishment 3-times per week produced manageable vine growth and respectable storage root yields.
Technical Paper

Comparison Studies of Candidate Nutrient Delivery Systems for Plant Cultivation in Space

A reliable nutrient delivery system is essential for long-term cultivation of plants in space. At the Kennedy Space Center, a series of ground-based tests are being conducted to compare candidate plant nutrient delivery systems for space. To date, our major focus has concentrated on the Porous Tube Plant Nutrient Delivery System, the ASTROCULTURE™ System, and a zeoponic plant growth substrate. The merits of each system are based upon the performance of wheat supported over complete growth cycles. To varying degrees, each system supported wheat biomass production and showed distinct patterns for plant nutrient uptake and water use.