Author Information

Deanna DeMattioFollow

Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

individual

Authors' Class Standing

Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Deanna DeMattio

Faculty Mentor Name

Peter Merkle

Abstract

Agriculture in enclosed and buried structures on Mars will enable astronauts to conduct extended surface exploration missions. We evaluated a deep-water culture indoor hydroponics system to grow Moringa Oleifera, a nutrient- and antioxidant-rich plant with leaves containing the complete set of amino acids necessary for human nutrition. The lighting intensity was decreased to 590 W/m2 in a twelve hour on/off cycle, in normal atmosphere. This simulates an ambient light collection and reflection system on Mars illuminating an insulated, pressurized underground chamber for agriculture. All plants (N = 32) were harvested over a 9 mo. period at regular intervals when plant heights reached an average of .9 m. A dry consumable leaf yield of .131 kg/mo. averaged 7.58g per plant per day. Data suggest Moringa Oleifera as a perennial hydroponic crop is possible under reduced illumination, thus serving as a food source for Mars explorers.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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The Study of Moringa Oleifera Under Mars Lighting Conditions

Agriculture in enclosed and buried structures on Mars will enable astronauts to conduct extended surface exploration missions. We evaluated a deep-water culture indoor hydroponics system to grow Moringa Oleifera, a nutrient- and antioxidant-rich plant with leaves containing the complete set of amino acids necessary for human nutrition. The lighting intensity was decreased to 590 W/m2 in a twelve hour on/off cycle, in normal atmosphere. This simulates an ambient light collection and reflection system on Mars illuminating an insulated, pressurized underground chamber for agriculture. All plants (N = 32) were harvested over a 9 mo. period at regular intervals when plant heights reached an average of .9 m. A dry consumable leaf yield of .131 kg/mo. averaged 7.58g per plant per day. Data suggest Moringa Oleifera as a perennial hydroponic crop is possible under reduced illumination, thus serving as a food source for Mars explorers.

 

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