Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Agriculture

1 Issue per year

Covered by: Elsevier - SCOPUS
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Greenhouse production analysis of early mission scenarios for Moon and Mars habitats

D. Schubert
Published Online: 2017-04-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0010


The establishment of planetary outposts and habitats on the Moon and Mars will help foster further exploration of the solar system. The crews that operate, live, and work in these artificial constructions will rely on bio-regenerative closed-loop systems and principles, such as algae reactors and higher plant chambers, in order to minimize resupply needs and improve system resiliency. Greenhouse modules will play a major role in closing not only the oxygen, carbon-dioxide, and water supply loops, but also by providing fresh food for the crew. In early mission scenarios, when the habitat is still in its build-up phase, only small greenhouse systems will be deployed, providing a supplemental food strategy. Small quantities of high water content crops (e.g. lettuce, cucumber, tomato) will be cultivated, improving the crew’s diet plan with an add-on option to the pre-packed meals. The research results of a 400-day biomass and crew time simulation of an adapted EDEN ISS Future Exploration Greenhouse are presented. This greenhouse is an experimental cultivation system that will be used in an analogue test mission to Antarctica (2018-2019) to test plant cultivation technologies for space. The Future Exploration Greenhouse is a high-level analogue for cultivation systems of early mission scenarios on Moon/ Mars. Applying a net cultivation area of 11.9 m², 11 crops have been simulated. Biomass output values were tailored to a tray cultivation (batch) strategy, where 34 trays (0.4x0.6 m) have been integrated into the overall production plan. Detailed work procedures were established for each crop according to its production lifecycle requirements. Seven basic crew time requiring work procedures (e.g. seeding, pruning and training, harvesting, cleaning, post-harvesting) were simulated. Two cultivation principles were the focus of the analysis: The In-Phase Cultivation approach where all trays start at the same time, and the Shifted Cultivation approach, where trays start in a specific sequential manner. Depending on the approach, different biomass output patterns emerged and were analysed with respect to crew consumption, crop shelf-life, and the risk of food spoilage. Crew time estimates were performed with respect to the overall production process, which resulted into 208.9 min per day for the planned cultivation area. When applying normal terrestrial work-times, this equates to approximately 50% of a crew member day for system operation. Biomass and crew time results were analysed in relation to each other, creating specific productivity factors for each crop type. This way, future mission planning, crop selection, and greenhouse design studies can better tailor the implementation challenges of small greenhouse modules into the habitat infrastructure.

Keywords : food production; greenhouse modules; bio-regenerative life support systems; production lifecycle analysis; crew time estimates; crop shelf life; habitat demand function; biomass over- and under production


  • Anderson, M. S., Ewert, M. K., Keener, J. F., Wagner, S. A., Life Support Baseline Values and Assumptions Document, Houston, USA, 2015, NASA/TP-2015-218570Google Scholar

  • Battistelli, A., Nazzaro, F., Proietti, S., McKeon-Bennett, M., Downey, P., Larkin, T., Richardson, L., Food Quality and Safety Planning Document, Bremen, Germany, 2016Google Scholar

  • McKeon-Bennett, M., Work effort assessment of handheld meter use for EDEN ISS, Interview, (16 12 2016)Google Scholar

  • Benton Jones, J., Hydroponics - A practical Guide for Soiless Grower, CRC Press, Boca Ranton, USA, 2005Google Scholar

  • Benton Jones, J., Tomato Plant Culture, CRC Press, Boca Ranton, USA, 2007Google Scholar

  • Burg, S. P., Postharvest physiology and hypobaric storage of fresh produce, CABI Publishing, Cambridge, 2004Google Scholar

  • Campbell-Platt, G., Food Science and Technology, 1st ed., Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Chichester, UK, 2009Google Scholar

  • Drake, B. G., Watts, K. D., Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference 5.0 Addendum # 2, NASA, Huston, USA, 2014, NASA/ SP-2009-566-ADD2Google Scholar

  • Eckart, P., Spaceflight Life Support and Biospherics, 1st ed., Kluwer/ Microcosm, London, UK, 1996Google Scholar

  • ESAS, NASA’s Exploration Systems Architecture Study, NASA, Washington, DC, USA, 2005, NASA/TM-2005-214062Google Scholar

  • Gitelson, I., Lisovsky, G., MacElroy, R., Manmade Closed Ecological Systems, Taylor & Friends, London, UK, 2003Google Scholar

  • HACCP, International HACCP Alliance, 2017, Available at: http://www.haccpalliance.org/sub/index.html [Accessed 15 02 2017]Google Scholar

  • Hoffmann, J. E., Kaplan, D. I., Human Exploration of Mars: The Reference Mission of the NASA Mars Exploration Study Team, NASA; Houston, USA, 1997, MD 21090-2934 (301) 621-039Google Scholar

  • Jovicich, E., Cantliffe, D., Stoffella, P., Fruit Yield and Quality of Greenhouse-grown Bell Pepper as Influenced by Density, Container, and Trellis System, HortiTechnology, 14(4), pp. 507-513, 2004Google Scholar

  • Knechtges, P. L., Food Safety: Theory and Practice, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington, USA, 2012Google Scholar

  • Laber, H., Lattauschke, G., Gemüsebau, Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart, Germany, 2014, (in German)Google Scholar

  • Lattauschke, G., Anbau von Gewächshausgemüse, 1st ed, Sächsische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Dresden, Germany, 2004, (in German)Google Scholar

  • Lattauschke, G., Anbauverfahren unter Glas, Sächsische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft Dresden, Germany, 2006, (in German)Google Scholar

  • LavaHive, LavaHive website, 2015, Available at: www.lavahive.com [Accessed 30 12 2016]Google Scholar

  • Morgan, L., Hydroponic Tomato Crop Production Guide, FarmTec, The Growing Edge Magazine, 2003Google Scholar

  • Motarjemi, Y., Moy, G., Todd, E., Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Academic Press, San Diego, USA, 2014Google Scholar

  • Patterson, R., Giacomelli, G., Sadler, P., Description, Operation and Production of the South Pole Food Growth Chamber (SPFGC), ASABE, 2008Google Scholar

  • Patterson, R. L., Descrition, Operation and Prodcution of the South Pole Food Growth Chamber (SPFGC), Master Thesis, University of Arizona, USA, 2011Google Scholar

  • Perchonok, M., Stevens, I., Swango, B., Toerne, M., Advanced Life Support Food Subsystem Salad Crops Requirements. SAE, San Francisco, 2002, 2002-01-2477Google Scholar

  • Singh, P. K., Dasgupta, S. K., Tripathi, S. K., Hybrid Vegetable Development, Food Prodcuts Press, Bringhampton, USA, 2004Google Scholar

  • SinterHab, SinterHab website, 2013, Available at: http://www.a-etc.net/sinterhab [Accessed 30 12 2016]Google Scholar

  • Steele, R., Understanding and Measuring the Shelf-life of Food, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2004Google Scholar

  • Storck, H., Taschenbuch des Gartenbaues, 3rd ed., Eugen Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 1996, (in German)Google Scholar

  • Zabel, P., Bamsey, M., Schubert, D. Zeidler, C., Vrakking, V., Johannes, B.-W., et al., Introducing EDEN ISS - A European project on advancing plant cultivation technologies and operations, 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Washington (DC), USA, 2015Google Scholar

  • Zabel, P., Bamsey, M., Zeidler, C., Vrakking, V., Schubert, D., Romberg, O., Boscheri, G., Dueck, T., The preliminary design of the EDEN ISS Mobile Test Facility - An Antarctic greenhouse, 46th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Vienna, Austria, 2016Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-01-12

Accepted: 2017-02-06

Published Online: 2017-04-05

Published in Print: 2017-02-01

Citation Information: Open Agriculture, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 91–115, ISSN (Online) 2391-9531, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0010.

Export Citation

© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

K. M. Folta and A. Weber
Plant Biology, 2018

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in