Crew 172 Final GreenHab Report
GreenHab Status: at the moment the GreenHab is not a suitable place to grow any except the hardiest plants (succulents, lichen, etc.). Within a 24-hour period temperatures have gone from 25F to 101F. Once the A/C + heater are fully functional and both controlled by the thermostat and grow lights are installed, it will be a great space for plant growth and experimentation.
Advice for Upcoming Crews: if you hope to grow plants before environmental control is established in the GreenHab you should grow them in the main Hab. The Science Dome, even with the grow tent and grow light, is far too cold for most plants to survive during the winter.
Near-term Recommendations: beyond environmental control and grow lights, general work lights should be installed so crew can work in the GreenHab after dark, some sort of humidifier should be installed (though the full aquaponics system may add some much needed humidity to the dry desert air), and my inventory (or some version of it) should be shared with future crews:
If I had known, even a subset, of what the GreenHab had in stock, what its dimensions were, and its general state of affairs, I would’ve arrived at MDRS much better equipped to succeed. Fortunately I was able to get some useful information on current plant growth from the outgoing GreenHab Officer (Crew 171) and I did my best to provide that same service to the incoming crew (Crew 173).
Longer-term Recommendations: a future GreenHab Officer or MDRS should build some sort of ongoing environmental monitoring system (temp, humidity, sunlight, pressure, etc.), MDRS should establish standard forms that allow GreenHab Officers to pass forward information about current plants and request specific items to be planted by a preceding crew, and MDRS should make clear the overall goals of the facility (growth for consumption, testing strains resistant to harsh conditions, crew psychological benefit, etc.).
Summary: Once basic systems are up and running, such as environmental control and the aquaponics system, the GreenHab could be of great use to future crews and a major asset to MDRS. Until that time it is little more than a storage facility lacking accessible information on its current state, long-term purpose, and potential to facilitate crew research. For the sake and success of future crews I think solving these communication and information issues should be a high priority.
Patrick Gray – GreenHab Officer, Crew 172