The MarsOasis™ cultivation system is a versatile, autonomous, environmentally controlled growth chamber for food provision on the Martian surface. MarsOasis™ integrates a wealth of prior research and Mars growth chamber concepts into a complete system design and operational prototype. MarsOasis™ includes several innovative features relative to the state of the art space growth chambers. It can operate on the Mars surface or inside of a habitat. The growth volume maximizes available growth area and supports a variety of crop sizes, from seeding through harvest. It utilizes in-situ CO2 from the Mars atmosphere. Hybrid lighting takes advantage of natural sunlight during warmer periods, and supplemental LEDs during extreme cold, low light, or indoor operation. Recirculating hydroponics and humidity recycling minimize water loss. The structure also supports a variety of hydroponic nutrient delivery methods, depending on crop needs. The growth chamber uses solar power when outside, with deployable solar panels that stow during dust storms or at night. It can also use power from the habitat or other external sources. The growth chamber is mobile, so that the crew can easily relocate it. Autonomous environmental control manages crop conditions reducing crew time for operation. Finally, remote teleoperation allows pre-deployment, prior to crew arrival. This project directly addresses the NASA STTR technology area T7.02 “Space Exploration Plant Growth” and will be a major step towards closed-loop, sustainable living systems for space exploration. This collaborative effort between Space Lab Technologies, LLC and the Bioastronautics research group from the CU Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department will culminate in the development of a pilot-scale engineering demonstration unit (EDU) for key components. Finally, thermal analysis, PAR distribution models, and ESM estimates for the MarsOasis™ concept will be refined, based on EDU testing results.
-MarsOasis™ provides fresh food to spacecraft crew on the Martian surface.
-The membrane contactor design allows highly selective CO2 capture and regenerable CO2 control in growth chambers, space habitats, or even spacesuits.
-Selective capture of O2 from plant chamber for delivery to crewed habitat.
-Intelligent hybrid lighting allows mass & volume efficiency for a planetary surface greenhouse.
-Deployable dome material may be used in planetary surface greenhouses, non-load bearing habitat structures, or even a crew solarium.
-The intelligent hybrid lighting offers significant energy cost savings for vertical farming in greenhouses.
-A simplified version of MarsOasis™ may be attractive as a year-round roof-top garden.
-Finally, the membrane contactor design can be used for greenhouse CO2 enrichment