Researchers at the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) claim to have developed a system to grow vegetables for a proposed lunar base.
They claim to have developed a prototype tubular hydroponic system for growing vegetables from Earth that would allow astronauts to enjoy tomatoes, peanuts, peppers, potatoes and other vegetables upon their arrival on the moon.
The tube, which extends to 18 feet, can be collapsed to a four-foot wide disk for interplanetary travel, and comes equipped with water-cooled sodium vapor lamps and long envelopes that would be loaded with seeds, the researchers said.
The lunar greenhouses would be buried under the moon’s surface to protect them from solar flares, micrometeorites and cosmic rays.
Associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at CEAC Murat Kacira said: "We want the system to operate itself. However, we're also trying to devise a remote decision-support system that would allow an operator on Earth to intervene. The system can build its own analysis and predictions, but we want to have access to the data and the control system."