Innovation That Matters

Plant cultivation

Indoor farm grows produce in outer space


The plant cultivation technology will help provide food for crew members on board the International Space Station.

Most people take the ability of walking to the supermarket to buy food for granted, but that simply isn’t a possibility for many who are based – quite literally – in the middle of outer space. Engineers at the German Aerospace Center (GAC) saw this gap in the market and created the EDEN ISS project, which aims to advance controlled environment agriculture technologies beyond the state-of-the-art. EDEN ISS is a 4-year project under the European Union‘s Research and Innovation Action program Horizon 2020. The goal of the project is to develop safe food production for on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and for future human space exploration vehicles and planetary outposts.

The project will develop an advanced nutrient delivery system, a high performance LED lighting system, a bio-detection and decontamination system, and food quality and safety procedures and technologies. A mobile container-sized greenhouse test facility will be built to demonstrate and validate different key technologies and procedures necessary for safe food production within a semi-closed system. The plant cultivation technologies will initially be tested in a laboratory setting. The next phase will see the high-tech greenhouse container shipped to the German Neumayer Station III in Antarctica, which will begin crop cultivation experiment in December.

Technology has placed itself in the middle of those who are in need of a service and the creation of the required service, with nothing seeming impossible. The mobility of the less able in poverty-stricken countries, for example, has been tackled by one company, who created an all-terrain wheelchair, while the Finnish government has teamed up with a startup to help refugees with their finances. How has technological advances in the past 12 months boosted your business’ operations?



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