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A Porous Tube Nutrient Delivery System Display for the Edmonton Space and Science Centre

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024073,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10479) @2002
Authors:   M. G. Lefsrud, B. Ohneck, D. E. Kopsell, T. W. Dreschel
Keywords:   Porous tube, Plant growth chamber, Education and Outreach, BLS

For continuous human habitation of space to occur political will and public opinion has to support this endeavour. Educating the public about space and the methods needed to support humans in microgravity will help improve understanding of the space industry and political support of space research exploration. The only practical method to allow permanent human habitation of space is the use of biological life support (BLS), which uses plants to purify water and produce oxygen and food. To teach people about BLS, a plant growth chamber was developed and displayed in the Edmonton Space and Science Centre (ESSC) in Alberta, Canada. This plant growth chamber uses ceramic porous tubes to grow radishes to maturity on a continuous growth cycle. The chamber was constructed, using off the shelf components to limit costs and simplify the chamber design. Descriptions were provided with the display, on the history of plant growth in microgravity, the operation of the porous tube system, and direction of future ideas and developments works. The environmental conditions (water and air temperature, relative humidity, etc) inside the chamber are displayed for observation. This display helps improve the publics understanding of biological life support in microgravity and provides a practical science display for the ESSC.

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