MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

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

GreenHab Report – January 12th

GreenHab Report

 
Current Setup
I currently have all plants on the first floor of the GreenHab under our one grow light. We are growing 27 spinach seeds for Crew 173’s hydroponics experiment, I have just recently planted onion and lettuce for future crews, and are continuing the growth of all Crew 171’s plants for future crews.

GreenHab Update
The heater is still not working and temperature swings are still too much for plants to handle. It was 105 yesterday at 1PM in the GreenHab just from solar heating. So it seems nearly certain that the A/C and heater must work in conjunction even in the middle of the winter.
Attachments
Photo of the new spinach for Crew 173 and new lettuce and onion.

 

Photo of the current location of plants on the 1st floor of the Hab under the grow light.
Best,
Patrick Gray
GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 7th

GreenHab Report

GreenHab Facility Update and Recommendations: Heater is still not working. The GreenHab is more hospitable than outside but only slightly. Temperature last night inside the GreenHab was: 30F and temperature today was: 35F. On sunny days it is also getting too hot for some plants (even though the heater was turning off appropriately upon reaching set temperature). On Sol 4 it reached 105F in the GreenHab at 2:30. So until the heater and A/C are functioning I recommend keeping plants in the Hab or closely monitoring the weather and moving them accordingly. Another option is to move the grow tent into the Science Dome and keep the tent in there with the grow light, but this only allows for a very small amount of plants to be grown and could still be too cold. I will move the grow tent in there and measure temperature.

Plant Growth Update: Due to the heater no longer functioning I have moved the plants and a grow light into the Hab to keep the plants healthy. After 24 hours they are doing quite well on the first floor of the Hab and already responding well to the new grow light installation. I am beginning new growth for Crew 173. 20 spinach seeds planted in the growth matrix and I will post updates for Crew 173’s information as they develop.

Cheers,
Patrick Gray
GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 5th

GreenHab Report

Facility Update: The heater is officially working in the GreenHab now. The temperature inside the facility was 13 C when I left this afternoon at 4PM with an outdoor temperature of -2 C I’ve moved all the plants from the first level of the Hab into the area directly in front of the heater in the GreenHab, but still a safe distance away for their own well being and for fire safety. We shall see how they fare on this wintry night.

Other Notes: GreenHab inventory will continue tomorrow. Please reach out if you are a future crew member or GreenHab team member and would like any other information.

Patrick Gray

GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 4th

GreenHab Report

Temperature Issues: The heater has been turned off because it is only blowing room temperature air. It has been turned off from the breaker box in the GreenHab. All growth in the GreenHab is pending assistance from the contractor who is coming to help fix the heater; nighttime temperatures are currently too low for plant survival.

Other Notes: After the temperature in the GreenHab is regulated and at  healthy levels for the plants the photoperiod in the Utah winter is too short for meaningful plant growth. Future researchers expecting to grow plants in the GreenHab during the winter should make sure they have grow lights. I currently have all my plants in the lower level of the Hab. I will report on the progress over the coming days.

Patrick Gray

GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – December 29th

Crop tending and data capture for the bioregenerative life support
system research took a great deal of time today.  Plant growth
properties, size and number of leafs, pH/EC, and photos were recorded.
Due to unforeseen issues with the GreenHab, data collection will need
to continue after the duration of simulation at MDRS.

Brittany Zimmerman

GreenHab Report – December 27th

Today we have deemed efforts to utilize the GreenHab
officially ineffectual; nevertheless, the day proved to be productive
for the growth of our Martian cultivars within the crew quarters.
Radishes, mystery crop (which we are beginning to believe is
Turmeric), Red Oak lettuce and Green Oak lettuce varieties have been
thinned and planted into canopy density experimental setups.  The
plant conveyor research continues, although rather languidly.   All
experiments using soil are duplicated using a hydroponic testbed for
future evaluation of the similitude of plant growth properties with
respect to nutrient medium.

Brittany Zimmerman
GreenHab Officer
Crew 171

GreenHab Report – December 26th

GreenHab Report:

There is not much to report from the GreenHab today.  We have moved our experiments into the lower level of the Hab and will not be able to move them back into the GreenHab until the heater is functioning and we have control of the temperature.  Ideally, we would like to be able to maintain the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F at all times.  In contrast, the low temperature last night was 26 F and peaked today at 93 F.  Obviously, these are not conditions that are suitable for plant growth.  The first step in once again regaining control of the temperature is to get the heater functioning again.

The germination front is going quite well!  We saw many more seedlings sprout and now have confirmation that all types of species that we planted at the beginning of our mission have germinated.  We are very excited to see the pinto bean, kidney bean, and popcorn grow up before the end of our mission.  Over the next few days, we will be working on transplanting the more mature seedlings and providing them nutrients through hydroponics and soil as well as beginning data collection on the lettuce experiments.

 

Thank you,

-Sean Gellenbeck

SEDS-MDRS Crew GreenHab Officer #2

SEDS-MDRS Crew HSO

GreenHab Report – December 24th

GreenHab Report:

We have some good news and some bad news to report from the
GreenHab today.  As is customary, bad news first.  It seems that the
heater in the GreenHab has stopped heating.  We have been monitoring
the temperature both inside and outside the GreenHab since Sol 1 and
despite the warmer weather, the temperature within the GreenHab is now
within 5 degrees F of the outside temperature which is the closest it
has ever been.  Inspecting the heater, it is apparent that it is just
circulating air and not performing any heating action.  We are thus
taking actions to protect the plants by moving them into the living
habitat in order to prevent death.  Now for the good news!  Our
seedlings are doing great!  In addition to the sprouts we reported
yesterday, we can now see that several onion, at least three popcorn,
and a pinto bean have germinated and will soon be ready for nutrient
and transplant.  Hopefully we will be able to put them into the
aquaponics system by the time they are ready for transplant.

 

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 33 F – 48 F

Outdoor Humidity – 65% – 93%

GreenHab Temp – 47 F – 66 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 45% – 59%

Barometer – 29.00 – 29.53 inHg

Wind – 6.5 mph, gust – 7.4 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 162.5 W/m^2

UV Index – 505 uW/cm^2

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.02 in

GreenHab Report – December 23rd

GreenHab:

We are afraid the plants in the GreenHab may die.  The temperatures
are just not favorable for plant growth.  The GreenHab is too hot
during sunny days and too cold while the sun is obscured.   The
GreenHab is not sealed well enough to stabilize the inside
temperature.  Almost all of the plastic located inside of the GreenHab
has noticeable heat deformation making several of the items unusable.
Also, the seeds that were stored out there are not viable.  The seeds
that we brought with us have germinated but no growth is being seen
from those supplied through MDRS, likely due to the heat they were
stored in.  The heater is severely undersized to keep up with the
thermally inefficient GreenHab structure.  Radish, lettuces and
mystery crop are germinating very well in the crew quarters.

Warmest Regards,