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#1 2004-02-27 11:30:14

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,657

Re: The Greening of Mars Indoors - Low-pressure tests on plants

[color=#000000:post_uid14]Nice to see some serious research being done on this!
SpaceDaily article describes some strange behaviour of plants in low pressure, and the (fairly sophisticated) research into these phenomena... They already found one interesting positive side-effect: fruit keeps its freshness for longer in low bar chambers.

Not so nice: plants seem ill-adapted to low-bar enviro's: they seem to 'sense' they're in a drought situation, instead of in a low pressure one...[/color:post_uid14]


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#2 2004-02-29 14:04:43

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: The Greening of Mars Indoors - Low-pressure tests on plants

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I just came here with this same link ready to paste. We need to read more about this stuff, which is exactly the kind of research that is needed.[/color:post_uid0]

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#3 2004-02-29 14:45:04

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,657

Re: The Greening of Mars Indoors - Low-pressure tests on plants

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Frankly, I'm amazed how 'deep' they go on this. They got substantial funding, they're going to do a serious set of tests, genetically engineered 'tracers'...

Guess somebody higher-up was truly fed-up with half-baked results.

Judging from the looks of it, there's going to come some good science out of this project.

Another tiny but oh-so-important bit of the puzzle...

Good to see the research has already payed for itself (keeping fruits fresh is a megabillion business)[/color:post_uid0]


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#4 2004-05-22 11:04:01

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: The Greening of Mars Indoors - Low-pressure tests on plants

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I don’t hold out much hope for very low pressure greenhouses as a means of growing food.  These researchers are talking about the need to use hormones to counter the effects they’ve observed.  They’ve not yet taken a plant through its entire life cycle this way, much less produced a food crop.  The utility of low pressure for storing food sounds great, and should be employed by any large scale food production on Mars.  However, that sounds like something that should be done after harvest, not before.  Ethylene – the hormone that ripens fruit in some plants – is the very hormone that hypobaric conditions deplete the fastest.  That means gardening on Mars will be literally fruitless if you have to do it all at very low pressures.

Leafy salads are good stuff, but would you really want to eat them all the time?

And what about pollination?  Any plant that needs pollination to propagate will have problems at very low pressures.  Insect pollination of any kind would be out of the question at one sixteenth of an atmosphere, but so would wind pollination.    Air at that pressure is too thin to carry pollen, much less bees. 

If you want to feed Marsians, air pressure in the greenhouse must be at least a quarter of Earth ambient, and preferably at least half.  Anything less than that is just another science experiment.

This does raise an intriguing question, one which could be investigated on an amateur basis using a much simpler apparatus than that used by the researchers in the article mentioned.  If progressively lower pressure leads to progressively greater water consumption, does progressively higher pressure lead to less?  Can hyperbaric (rather than hypobaric) greenhouses be used to conserve water?  A hyperbaric chamber of the type discussed in the article could be built using a modified, glue-sealed 3-liter soda bottle as a pressure vessel and inflated to five atmospheres using a compressor.  It would make an interesting little terrarium, and could be set up and run for less than $20 US if you didn’t have to buy your own compressor.

Hmm…[/color:post_uid0]


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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