Forget about saving the earth. We could just as well start thinking about colonizing other planets instead.
Looking for a new development in the technology sectors that could come up with interesting solutions to some of its problems, NASA is sponsoring the International Space Apps Challenge These kind of gatherings are a continuous fountain of free and open source solutions to some of the problems that are strongly related to space exploration and our life here on Planet Earth.
Wherever we may go, one thing stays certain: humans need to eat food. As NASA is preparing the mission to Mars, the issue of sending enough food with the space crew to keep them well fed and able to function might just find a new answer path.
As the project that practically brought out the 3D printed farm designed for space travelling is stating, “space travel and space colonization are not feasible without a renewable food supply that can adapt to the unpredictable conditions and needs, inside a shuttle and out. To build a system that both optimizes food growth in space and scales the food supply in a renewable manner means we help bring humanity one step closer to long-distance space travel,”
The farm system is called AstroGro and uses 3D printing technology to create small pots, within the available space, that can be used to grow fresh organic food, anywhere, in space. Each pot has his own system that is environmentally controlled by an AI. AstroGro comes up with a simple system that monitors the plants’ absorption of water, simply by using the radiofrequency of water molecules. In this respect, the amount of water in each plant can be used to calculate how much water and light the plant needs to continue growing and being healthy.
Since we know that plants grow differently in a weightless environment, the pots can be arranged in a wheel pattern, which spins around continuously, determining the crops to grow inwards towards the center of the wheel pattern. The wheel’s spin ratio is programmed to simulate existing gravity on Earth, in order to create like growing conditions.
These systems can be printed using Made In Space 3D printers. They are replaceable in case one is damaged. The systems can be scaled in accordance with the needs of the crew. Moreover, the plants in the pots will help maintain fresh air for the crew personnel.