Proposal: An automated device for the transformation of Martian regolith into growing soil for human food production.
Rationale: Numerous studies have been conducted on the reconstitution of Martian regolith into workable farming soil. The time may have come to automate the best of the available state-of-the-art in this area of inquiry into a small and reliable processing facility for generating soil stockpiles. The general process would be as follows:
- Collect Martian Regolith from the local area.
- Sift the collected regolith to appropriate granular size.
- Load sifted regolith into growth chambers.
- Add liquid growth medium and appropriate biomass seed to growth chambers.
- Inculcate growth of biomass plants to appropriate level of maturity.
- Empty growth chamber into grinder/composter and re-cycle biomass-enchanced regolith into growth chambers.
- Re-run Steps 4 through 6 until conditioned regolith qualifies as soil.
- Stockpile soil in storage facility.
Disciplines needed, subject to revision:
Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Botany, Hydraulics Design, Control System Design