A research and design program to develop efficient, sustainable agricultural techniques for Mars and other space settlements.
Agriculture is critical to both basic human survival in space and In-Situ Resource Utilization, plants and animals offering us an at-hand form of nanotechnology with which to turn space’s very basic resources into useful materials with low energy. Horticulture is also crucial to the wellbeing of space settlers, both as a component of life support systems and in affording them a means of making life in their enclosed habitats more comfortable and appealing. We anticipate this to become a central feature of space settler culture and lifestyle across the solar system. Mars presents unique challenges for this, however, with its extreme environment and toxic regolith chemistry. With manpower at a premium for early settlement, automation will also be necessary and it is likely that agriculture developed for ISRU purposes will be entire machine-managed long before settlers’ arrival. New techniques, relating closely to the contemporary development of urban and vertical farming, will be necessary to make farming on the planet practical, sustainable, and productive.
Through our Martian Farms program we will seek to research, develop, and demonstrate a variety of space agriculture systems for application in areas of Closed Environment Life Support Systems, industrial production, food production, and aesthetic uses suited to the types of structures anticipated for future space habitats.