Introduction: Terrace Farming
Similar to terrace farming, this design aims to maximize the use of the 50x50x50 space allotted whilst creating an automated system of water supply in order to decrease manual labor from the astronauts. Through the use of this staircase design, we are able to pot plants on both sides of the staircase effectively allowing both light and water to circulate throughout our design without impeding the growth of any of the plants. This design will allow water to be circulated and recycled based on a timer allowing for maximal use of the water given with minimal effort for the astronauts. This design incorporates a replacement for the growth medium which is Rockwool cubes which are known for its retention of water and don't break down easily. Overall, our design allows for maximum efficiency with minimal effort.
- Rockwool Cubes
- 2 Timers
- Water Pumps
- 2 Blue LED Bulbs
- 2 Red LED Bulbs
- 4 Green LED Bulbs
- Pressure switches for water pumps
- Plastic Glass
- 50x50x50 box
Step 1: Innovations in Our Design
- Use both sides of the staircase utilizing space efficiently.
- Water is both recycled and runs on a timer with pressure switches in order to water the Rockwool as needed allowing for astronauts to only switch the water bag once water is completely finished.
- The Rockwool material allows for an alternative solid growth medium which maximizes water and air retention.
- A tubing system with a pressurized water system utilizing capillary action allowing for Rockwool material to absorb water as need.
Step 2: The Design
Through the pictures above, we can see the internal view of this design. This design will be created in one massive plastic glass cube which will allow for light to be reflected within and grow properly. The "staircase" or the shelves will be used for the plants on both sides of each shelf. The picture shows the top layer of the cube and will be mirrored in order to show the bottom portion of the cube as well. The tubes which will have holes in them will run through the staircase supplying water to the Rockwool cubes through a process of capillary action where the Rockwool material will absorb the amount of water needed and allow the rest to circulate until it reaches the next pressure switch. Once it reaches the next pressure switch and the timer goes off, the water will once again circulate "upwards" and the Rockwool material will absorb the water needed and this process will continue until the water bag needs to be switched. The water runoff should not reach more than 30% lest there be algae growth. Since plants grow towards the light, the lights have been placed at edges in order to make sure no plant has it's growth impeded by the shortage of space. Pressure switches on both sides allow for water to be circulated through the tubes.
Step 3: Growth Medium
Rockwool material allows for maximum retention of water and air. With the lettuce placed in each Rockwool cube and the tubes delivering water with the cube absorbing it as needed, this allows for the perfect growth medium. On the other hand, Rockwool cubes have a high pH of 7.5, therefore, they need to be soaked in a solution containing a pH of about 5 which would allow the pH of the Rockwool material to drop down to about 6 which is the optimal pH for plant growth.
Step 4: 3D Models
Participated in the
Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest