Introduction: Space Lettuce Chamber Instructable- Airline High School Robotics

About: High school robotics team profile

This is an Instructable made by three high school students enrolled in a robotics class. We will be creating a chamber to grow lettuce in space for the Growing Beyond Earth Contest by NASA. We are going show you how to create the container. Let's get started.


  • 15 inch 1-¼ inch PVC pipes
  • 1 15 inch 2 inch PVC pipes
  • Lettuce Seeds
  • Rock wool
  • AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients 1 liter
  • Raspberry pi
  • 15 120mm x 38mm Infinity AXIAL fans
  • 2 sets of LED lights
  • 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm Honeycomb shaped Box (Hexagon should fit inside size constraint)
  • Mesh
  • RIDGID 4 Gallon 5.0-peak HP Portable wet/dry vacuum

Step 1: Basics

It should be able to toggle the fans on/off, set on low for half of the day (12 hours). In between the pipes should be where the fans are located, most of the fans will be placed with one centimeter gap. The wires will be tied together and will be moved beside the fans, going towards the back. It will connect onto one area in the back of the box where the wires will go out and into an energy source.

Step 2: Implement Tubing

The pipes will direct the water inside of the water tank that is behind the back wall into to plants. There are 6 thinner pipes around 1 larger pipe. The water will come through the pipes to the plants and stay there for 30 minutes, any water left in the pipes will be sucked up by the vacuum and recycled so it can be used again. Mesh will be around the pipes to stop the water from floating out and keeping the plant from floating away, although this should not be possible due to the fact that the rockwool holding the seed will be exactly the size of pipe holes.

Step 3: Connect Fans

The vacuum will only be on whenever the water is being removed to be recycled. The Raspberry Pi should be able to turn it off/on after a certain period of time. You will need to find a way to connect it to a power source along with the Raspberry Pi(s) and fan(s). The tank should also be connected to a water source so it does not go dry.

Step 4: Put in Rockwool

Rockwool is a material that will hold the plants in place to let them grow in the nutrient water. The rockwool will go in each hole in the pipes with lettuce seeds in them. Once they are 6-8 inches tall they should be harvested. Once harvested put in another seed and begin again.

Step 5: LED Lights

The LED set up just runs on a timer. It will change colors in a 11 hour cycle. Red and Blue will be the main colors after 22 hours of switching colors it will turn off for 11 hours before turning back on. This is to mimic the daylight cycle.

Step 6: Failsafes

All Raspberry Pis should have fail safes in case of LED or vacuum failure. To be safe add a secondary vacuum, LED strip, and fans in case of failure. If something does fail be sure to replace it as soon as possible. The LEDs should have three different colors when something fails. The purple LED light should tell the user that there is a problem with the honeycomb such as something failing with the pipes, water tank, LED, and etc. The yellow LED light should tell the user there is something wrong with the program or its not responding. Finally, the last LED is Green which tells that everything is in working order. The LEDs should be at the door of the honeycomb.

Step 7: Implement Door

Use a honeycomb shaped panel and connect it to the open side of the box with hinges, which will be at the bottom. Put magnets on the top of the door and the top of the box so they can completely close and stay closed.

Step 8: The End

Once you have completed step 7, You are finished. Congratulations! You have made the 'honeycomb' ready to survive space and to sustain life.

Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

Participated in the
Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest