The Demeter Moon Pod Mission: Growing Plants on the Moon and Beyond
The Demeter Moon Mission, consisting of a female crew, will test and prepare plant growth systems for future missions, using materials on the moon and NASA’s pillow packs in a robot-maintained greenhouse. The main goal will be testing plant-growth systems. Habitats growing plants on the moon are more efficient than transporting large amounts of food to astronauts. To conserve fertilizer weight in the capsule, plants like dandelions will be grown to create compost for growing crops, and seeds also travel efficiently.
There can be up to four astronauts in a moon pod capsule. Each astronaut must have at least two mission roles. The Mission Commander will also take the role of planting and documenting. The Pilot of the mission will navigate the capsule and serve as engineer to construct the greenhouse and repair the Hab or capsule if needed. The Doctor shall ensure the crew stays healthy and will serve as chemist. The Computer Technician will manage the computers and communicate with NASA. She will also install and operate the robotic arm and grow lights in the greenhouse.
The robotic arm will have the role of testing the plants for nutrients, composting the dandelion leaves to fertilize the growing matter, and harvesting/preserving the plants for the next crew. The crew will leave a robot-operated greenhouse with pillow packs to grow plants so that they will be ready to harvest and eat by the time of the next mission's arrival. The robotic arm will water, rotate the plants and replant those struggling to grow.
Vegetables that have already been harvested can be eaten by the next crew. These plants can be harvested and grown for missions to come. In addition, the mission will prove if these methods will work for future long-term missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
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