Introduction: Project Allspark Aka Growing Space in a Small Space, Thats Floating in a Larger Space, in Outer Space
so, when I read the rules for the contest, I immediately started thinking on what would be the most economical way to fit as many plants as possible in a small space, yet still provide viable and successful produce. I also wanted to be able to use systems already in use on the ISS. this would require fewer custom parts to be sent up, and as far as I can see, this could be tweaked slightly, and the plans emailed, and made on the ISS within a week. From now. From right now. so, without further ado, off we go.
3D Printer, red and blue or UV leds, Velcro, winning attitude
Step 1: Basic Setup
so this is a scale model of the setup. essentially, it is 4 squares, with chamfered edges, that are joined together to make a 49cm cube. The grow pillows are placed and secured into each open space, leaving one open for observation if needed. The grow lights placed all around the interior allow for the plants to get all the necessary light, without being blocked of other plants. this also gives them the ability to grow in an which direction best serves them.
Step 2: Printable Frame
so the basic setup has a 3d printable frames, that fit grow pillow. these are what are used currently to grow food on the ISS. The frame contains grow leds, and its shape is held together with either Velcro straps, or Velcro mounted on the mating surfaces. The pillows fit into each open section, facing in towards the grow lights, and held with bands or Velcro. These pillows can be easily changed out, plant types mixed, or removed to maximize growth. The Ohio State X-HAB team has been experimenting with grow pillows, and as the video shows, they can be adapted to fit almost any needed size.
Step 3: Modular System
While the restriction now is a small cube, this system allows it to be adapted to any future space. The ability to print more sections, or arrange them into a flat panel, allow it to be used on a variety of shapes, or positions. Take example, if they decide to used a wall shaped system, all they have to do is configure the panels in a flat orientation, and fit them together. Like Tetris. Only in this case, the only thing that disappears is your dependence on Earth based foodstuffs.
Step 4: Conclusion
So in the end, I see this as a way to grow food on up to 5 spaces, within the given space. 4 if you wanted an observation spot and didn't want to use the bottom panel. Really the only issue I can see is the possibility of the inside getting to crowded, and blocking the LEDs. This could be solved by placing the grow lights all in a single panel, so the plants can grow towards it. Any constructive criticism is appreciated, and hit the like button if you thought it was a feasible idea.
Participated in the
Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest