The super greenhouse Eden Iss has to face its hardest terrestrial test: Antarctica. It is here, in fact, in the extreme conditions of the ice continent that will be carried out from December 2017 tests for the cultivation of a garden in a hostile environment.
Eden Iss is a project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 program, which aims to create a system capable of producing the basic elements for human survival in space. In short, as stated in the presentation of the project, "a greenhouse as a vital support system for living on the moon and on Mars".
How does it work? "Eden Iss is developing a high performance nutrition release system, an advanced LED lighting system, a system for recognition of biological contaminants and decontamination, imaging systems for plant health monitoring and quality technologies and food security. EDEN ISS consortium has designed and is currently testing Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies and is using culture strategies that use rack cabinets of a size compatible for the typical payloads of space flight (called demonstrator ISPR). Future Exploration Greenhouse (FEG) has been designed and built to test a large-scale production system. A planetary space exploration greenhouse and to prepare a plant growth experiment on board the International Space Station. "
The greenhouse is on its way to Antarctica, where, from next December and a year, fresh tomatoes, sweet peppers, lettuce and beets will grow at the Neumayer III station.
The Eden Iss project collaborates with 14 universities, research institutes and companies (including SMEs) of European origin (including some Italians), Canadian and US.
The project was discussed at the biotechnology conference that took place in Rome on September 28th, and it was an opportunity for researchers to compete with current studies and the results achieved in plant cultivation in degree of "blossoming" also in space, and especially on Mars.
Cover photo and project information from http://eden-iss.net/ and Facebook @spaceedeniss