MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

GreenHab Report – February 7th

GreenHab Report
Sol: 09
Earth Date: 02.07.2017
Written by : Sneha Velayudhan

Functionality: The temperature in the green hab was noted to be 16 deg C with humidity of 30 %, 22.3 deg C with humidity of 35 % under the Misian Mars lamp while the outside temperature was 9 deg C at around 9:30 AM. The evening (5:30PM) temperature was noted as 21.8 deg C with 29% humidity, 24.7 deg C with 42% humidity under the Misian Mars Lamp while the outside temperature was 10 deg C. The heater is working fine.

Status: All plants were watered, the fenugreek seedlings were watered with vitamin D rich water and the growth of the seedlings were monitored and noted. The fenugreek seedlings under the Misian Mars lamp shows more growth than the seedlings in the green hab. The secondary roots are developing for most of the fenugreek seedlings growing under the Misian Mars lamp in Earth soil. There is an average of two leaves per plant and are dark green in color under the Misian Mars lamp. The ones in the green hab are growing slowly and steadily. The Mars sample soil pots in the green hab has dried out completely. Under the Misian Mars lamp, the Mars soil sample shows very less growth. The growth was noted and a graph was plotted as shown in figure below. The corn plants were measured and readings were noted.
Planned activity: The growth of the plants, temperature and other functionality will be monitored.

Green Hab Report – February 3rd

Green Hab Report:
Prepared by: Sneha Velayudhan
Sol 05
Earth Date: 02.03.2017

Functionality: A sunny day on Mars means regular monitoring of the Green Hab as temperature rise quickly. Morning the temperatures were measured. The outside temperature was 9 deg C while the green hab temperature was 38 deg C and under misian Mars lamp it was 20 deg C at around 10:30 AM. Post lunch, the skies were clear and the temperature was high. It was an indication to me that the temperatures in the Green Hab would be high. I went to the green hab to find the inside temperature to be nearly 50 deg C. I switched on the cooler and watered the plants again. The humidity was checked and it was around 30 %. The cooler was left on in order to control the temperature of the Green Hab. In the evening, the outside temperature was 8 deg C, Green Hab temperature was 20 deg C and under the misian Mars Lamp temperature was 22.5 deg C. The Humidity noted inside the hab was 15% and under the misian Mars lamp was 30%.

Status: In the green hab, the plants and seedlings were watered. Special attention given to the Fenugreek seeds. The root growth in the Earth Soil was impressive. The leaves were sprouting out of the seed coat and it was greenish. It was a great relief to see the seedlings grow!!! Unfortunately, there is no much growth observed in the seeds sowed in the Mars Soil. It was expected but that was little depressing 🙁

Under the misian Mars Lamp, the seedlings were watered and observed for growth. The earth soil seeds showed some growth but it looks like plants enjoy sunshine more that the artificial lamp light! Similar to the green hab, the Mars soil pots did not show any impressive growth. The root growth was measured in both Earth and Mars seedlings. In the evening the plants were watered with Vit D in incremental measurement and the temperature was monitored.

Planned activity: Monitoring and maintaining the Green Hab temperature. Tabulating the growth of plants with varied amount of Vitamin D.

Green Hab Report – February 2nd

Green Hab report


Written by : Sneha Velayudhan
Sol 04
Earth Date: 02.02.2017
Functionality: Its a nice sunny day on Mars. Temperature at around
10:20 AM was 2 deg. C outside, while the green hab temperature was 22
deg. C and the misian Mars lamp temperature was 19 deg. C. The
temperature was again checked in the evening at 5:30 PM, inside the
greenhab the temperature was 30 deg. C, it was around 22.4 deg. C
under the misian Mars lamp while the outside temperature was 9 deg. C
and windy.
Status: The temperature was monitored and seedlings were watered.
Special attention was given to the fenugreek seeds sowed yesterday as
a part of botany experiment. It was found that the soil in the pots
was mostly dry. In order to maintain the adequate moisture in the
soil, the pots were watered in the green hab and under the misian Mars
lamp. Some amount of water was poured into the tray beneath the pots
to maintain regular moisture.
By the evening the temperature was monitored again and the seedlings
were watered. The fenugreek was watered with fixed amount of water and
Vit. D ranging from 0.1 gm to 1 gm both in the green hab and under the
misian Mars lamp. The root growth was measured and tabulated
accordingly.
Planned activity: The seedlings will be monitored for growth along
with the temperature and humidity.

Green Hab Report – February 1st

Green Hab Report
Sol-03
Earth Date: 02.01.2017
Written by : Sneha Velayudhan

Functionality: as the climate on Mars is beautiful, the green hab
temperatures are high that we had to switch on the coolers twice
today. The temperatures were noted as 28 degree centigrade while the
outside temperature was 1 degree centigrade at 10:10 AM. By 12:20 pm,
the temperature rised to around 45 degree, the cooler was switched on
to decrease the temperature. The temperature was brought down to
around 30 degree. In the evening temperatures were noted, the green
hab was 18 degree while the outside temperature was 9 degree
centigrade.
Status: The botany experiment started with 2 sets of pots, 10 each
prepared with earth soil and marked with 0-0.9 grams of Vitamin D.
Five different types of Martian soil, each type of soil were prepared
in 2 pots and marked for the variety. A mixture of earth soil, the
different tryps of Martian soil was prepared in equal ratio and filled
into 4 pots. Each of the respective sets such as the 10 pots of Earth
soil, 5 pots of mars soil, 2 pots each of the mixture of Earth and
Mars soil were consolidated. The germinated fenugreek seeds were
delicately sowed into the pots.  One set is placed in the green hab
and the other under the misian mars lamp. All plants including the
newly potted seedlings were watered twice today.
Planned activity: The growth of fenugreek will be monitored along with
the other plants in the coming days.

GreenHab Report – January 31st

Green Hab Report
Report written by: Sneha Velayudhan (Crew Biologist)
Date : 01/31/2017
Functionality: The heaters in the green hab is in perfect working condition. The temperatures are monitored twice a day. Today it was noted that the temperature in the green hab was around 48 degree centigrade while the temperature outside was 10 degree centigrade around 11:30 AM. As the temperature was too high the cooler was switched on and the green hab temperature was brought down to around 33 degree centigrade. The seedlings were watered twice today. The temperatures were monitored in the evening, it was noted to be 23 degree centigrade inside while the outside temperature was around 8 degree centigrade.
Status: The fenugreek and the Chick pea seeds have germinated well and are ready for potting.  The pots are prepared with earth soil for the experiment to monitor the effect of Vitamin D on the growth of plants. An EVA was done to collect different types of soil from different locations on Mars. There were 5 different types of soil collected. The soil collected are different in color and texture. Seeds will be planted in each of the soil type and the seedling growth will be observed. The existing seedlings were monitored for growth. The height of the corn plants were measured.
Planned activity: The germinated seeds will be planted into the earth and martian soil. There will be 2 sets each of 10 pots marked in increments of 0 – 0.9 g of Vitamin D. One of this set will be placed in the Green Hab and the other under the misian Mars light and growth will be monitored.

GreenHab Report – January 21st

Sol 6
21/01/17
GreenHab Status:
It’s toasty warm all Sol round now that the new heater has been installed. This means the GreenHab is essentially fully functional (minus a few mod cons), and ready to have long term experiments. This also means the capacity for botanical experiments has dramatically increased. The seedlings planted by prior crews are really picking up the growth pace, and the seeds I have planted are already sprouting. Soon the GreenHab will live up to its colourful name, being lush with greenery.
The grow tent is still inside the main Hab, where I suggest it should stay (if left in the GreenHab it gets far too hot to support plant life). It is being used primarily as an incubator for newly planted seeds until they have sprouted and are ready to be moved to the GreenHab proper.
GreenHab Update:
The heater is now fully functional, including automation, leaving only fan cooling to be done manually (if it is needed at all).
A corn growth experiment is now underway by myself and Michaela in the GreenHab, determining the base growth rate of corn (interestingly sown from popcorn kernels courtesy of crew 171!) under simulated Martian conditions. This data will go on to help design a later experiment testing the effects of heavy metals on growth rate, to be conducted by Michaela in collaboration with the Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.
There is also an experiment in the grow tent, by myself and Michaela, measuring the effects seedlings experience based on the density of seeds. Six different crops were sown in pots with seed densities ranging from 1 to 12 seeds per 4cm2. This experiment is to be followed up by Michaela in collaboration with researchers at Mendel University, also in the Czech Republic.
I have also begun to test soil samples from the surrounding area for salinity and pH. This is to determine where soil quality is best, in the hopes that small quantities of soil can be sourced locally and improved with compost in the future.
The chard is sprouting.
GreenHab corn experiment (photo credit Michaela Musilova) sol 6
Growth tent seed density experiment (photo credit Michaela Musilova) sol 6
Requests:
– More potting mix, large pots / planter boxes
– Larger plants such as fruit trees, eg. a citrus fruit.
– Any instructions for setting up the aquaponics system.

GreenHab Report – January 17th

GreenHab Report
Sol 2
17/01/17
Richard Blake
GreenHab Status:
Still too cold at night to leave plants in there, the seedlings I have growing are moved in there in the morning (~9am) and brought back to the Hab in the afternoon (~5pm). Currently have spinach, lettuce, onions, (pop)corn?, carrots, radishes, and beans growing amongst other things.
GreenHab Update:
Received some more seeds, will start to plant some in the coming days, namely tomatoes, beans and coriander.
Requests:
– I want to move the grow tent from the GreenHab to the lower level of the main Hab, it gets too hot in the sun to be used.
– Any instructions on setting up the hydroponics equipment?
– GreenHab heater should theoretically be fixed this week (crosses fingers).
– For Patrick – Am I correct in assuming the popcorn growing was from the popcorn in the kitchen? If so, that is hilarious (the almonds didn’t work out so well).
Photos of repotted plants in GreenHab attached
I know what chard is now.

GreenHab Report – January 16th

GreenHab Report
16/01/17 – Richard Blake
Sol 1
GreenHab Status:
All previously planted seedlings are still growing. Still unable to leave plants overnight in the GreenHab due to the low night time temperatures. Plants will remain inside the main Hab during the night under grow lights.
GreenHab Update:
Seedlings with enough growth were transferred from the growth matrix they were planted in to larger pots filled with potting mix. A number of these seedlings were also kept in the GreenHab during the day. I continued to monitor temperatures around the station today, and, as it was a sunny day, the GreenHab air temperature reached the low 40’s (◦C). This is ok for the plants to be in as long as they have adequate water and that the fans are not creating wind. They will still be kept inside overnight until there is a heater installed. Michaela continued growing her spinach seeds in petri dishes under the Misia Mars designed lamp. She also transferred some of the seeds into a hydroponic solution, designed by her students, also under the Misia Mars lamp.
Requests:
– What is chard?
– Need more pots and planter boxes to grow plants in, preferably those with an upper width of 20cm+ (8 inches?).
– Requesting more seeds to plant, with a greater variety. Ideally, corn, chillies, tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes,
– And, if at all possible, capsicums, sweet potatoes, a grape vine and small citrus tree.
– Are there any schematics for assembling the hydroponics system in the GreenHab?

GreenHab Report – January 15th

GreenHab Report

15/01/17 – Richard Blake

Sol 0

 

GreenHab Status:

Took command of the GreenHab, going through the inventory and taking stock of the current plantings. All growth is currently confined to the lower section of the Hab, utilising a grow light scavenged from the grow tent in the GreenHab. The GreenHab itself currently gets too cold overnight for plants to survive as the heater is non-functioning, hopefully it will be fixed on Tuesday. Seedlings are growing well in the main Hab, thanks to the GreenHab officer from crew 172. Lettuce, onion, and what appear to be some bean seedlings are all growing well.

 

GreenHab Update:

I have planted half a tray with basil seeds and the other half with chard (what is chard? Is it an American word for a kind of spinach? Silverbeet?). If they are still viable they should start to sprout within a few days.

I have also begun logging the temperatures of the main Hab, the GreenHab, the grow tent within the GreenHab as well as outside. These measurements were taken every hour, on the hour, and plotted in a graph of temperature over time.

Helped to set up Michaela’s spinach seedling experiment. I repaired the stand the seedlings are designed to grow on while she transferred the sprouting spinach seeds officer to wet cotton wool in petri dishes. They are now under a grow light where they should continue to germinate.

Attached:            photo of existing seedlings,

photo of newly planted seeds and Michaela’s experiment, and,

a graph of the day-time temperature.

 

GreenHab Report – January 14th

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: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VDX_qvZFgBNOkZdO3qbW_1xMkP3mFP2QSX7b_uhs-J4/edit#gid=0. 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.

 

Ad astra,

Patrick Gray – GreenHab Officer, Crew 172