A group of Greek students have developed Popeye on Mars, a reusable little greenhouse, that could feed Mars settlers. The project is a winner in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, for Best Mission Concept. Congratulations!
The Popeye on Mars project, the solution that developed the most promising Mission Concept, by Space Apps Athens team members, include Vangelis Chliaras, Panagiotis Bairamis, Mathos Papamatthaiou, Themistoklis Karafasoulis, Lydia Polyzou, Xaris-Kleiw Koraka, Sotirios Panagiotou, Agisilaos Zisimatos, and Alfredos-Panagiotis Damkalis.
“Our solution is a deployable, reusable spinach greenhouse for Mars. Internally, a fully equipped aeroponic system operates for ~45 days, having all the needed resources, sensors and electronic systems to stabilize the internal environment and help the spinach growth. Also, there are systems for harvesting produced oxygen during the process and the plants at the end of it. Externally, photovoltaic panels provide power, while several cover layers protect the system against Mars extreme conditions.”
“The design is based on the assumption that the greenhouse will be landed near the equator. A landing area like Arabia (~ 5 degrees latitude and longitude) seems to be the optimal one. In such an area, the sun rays hit vertically the photovoltaic panels (PVP), there are no extreme weather conditions like in Mars’ south pole and the geology of the area is smooth enough for deploying the greenhouse.
Without human intervention, the greenhouse operates for approximately 45 days (spinach life cycle). This period can vary up to 65 days depending on the planted plants. After this period, the stored oxygen (O2) and the produced seeds are ready to be collected. After elementary maintenance and seeds planting, the greenhouse is functional again and ready for the next harvest.”
source Popeye on Mars