While for those who had the opportunity to watch “The Martian”, developing life on other planets seems to be at this time, an achievable goal, for others this idea represents a mere fantasy. In reality, farming on other planets is possible and achievable thanks to the developments made by the scientists. In order to develop this dream, NASA collaborated with researchers at the University of Arizona to design an inflatable greenhouse that could be deployed in space and offer astronauts a sustainable bounty of fresh herbs and vegetables.
The prototype modules, a long cylinder measuring 18 feet long and 7 feet in diameter, are designed to help create an artificial ecosystem with plants feeding off the carbon dioxide. Its curved metal frame supports an inflatable membrane. In order to avoid radiation, the greenhouses will likely be buried under soil, requiring an artificial light source, in order to protect the former from radiation. The solar light could be captured using fiber optic bundles, the other option being the use of led lights
The prototype was built as “bioregenerative life support system”, as it is capable of recycling air, waste and water. The astronauts release carbon dioxide as they exhale, releasing it, and the plants use it to generate oxygen through photosynthesis. Water flows through the roots and back to a storage tank where it is oxygenated and fortified in a constant cycle. The oxygenated water will be pumped with the appropriate nutrients across the root zone of the plant, collecting and storing what was left at the end. The main idea behind the project is to use water that is brought by humans from Earth. However, if the astronauts will stay on the Moon or on Mars forever, NASA will have to find a water source outside the boundaries of the Earth.