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Controlled Environment Agriculture Development for Space and Earth

Project Reference: 328962
Activity Code: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IIF
Coordinator:German Aerospace Center (DLR)


As astronauts stay for extended periods away from Earth, material recycling becomes ever more essential. As present regenerative Life Support Systems (LSS) are physical-chemical based, they have no capacity to produce food and, thus, do not provide for closure of the human crew inputs and outputs. Bioregenerative LSS become more advantageous in comparison to traditional based LSS especially for distant and long duration missions where resupply becomes too costly. Their benefit stems from the ability to provide edible biomass production, carbon dioxide absorption, oxygen generation, water recycling and waste degradation. Evidence also suggests that the use of higher plants could provide the crew with psychological benefits on long duration space missions.

The achievement of closed bioregenerative LSS will only be possible through the continued advancement of a number of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies. These technologies attempt to better monitor and control the various environmental variables that influence plant growth. Efficient lighting and advanced nutrient control systems are two CEA technologies that would provide considerable benefit from the perspective of generating high yield, low waste bioregenerative LSS and better permit sustained human presence in extreme environments such as Antarctica or on other planetary surfaces e.g. Moon or Mars.

The overall objectives of the CEADSE IIF-Proposal are to develop and test innovative technologies that will significantly enhance the reliability of controlled environment food production while providing deep insight into plant-environment interactions not yet available to plant researchers. In particular, we propose to utilize the pull of space technology by advancing the readiness of CEA technologies, developed to meet the critical requirements of plant production systems for space missions, and transfer these technologies terrestrially to provide direct benefits to Europe.

Project Details: 

Start Date: 2013-09-01
End Date: 2015-08-31
EU Contribution: EUR 168 794
Total Costs: EUR 168 794
Programme Acronym: FP7-People
Subprogramme Area: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IIF
Funding Scheme: International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)
Administrative Contact Person: Ines SANDER (Ms.)