Top Scientific Breakthroughs 2018: Antarctica’s Greenhouse
Dec 01 2018 Read 560 Times
2018 has been full of exciting breakthroughs in the world of science, and we’re going to take a closer look at some of the most notable. We’ve already explored the three science-related Nobel Prize winners and discovered the impressive, life-changing work of two British doctors into curing vision impairment.
In this post, we’re going to be discussing the latest advancement towards growing food in space. German scientist Paul Zabel has developed and built an artificial greenhouse, housed in Antarctica, that has been growing and continues to grow produce without heat or natural light.
Antarctica’s constant winter makes it impossible to grow food outdoors. Fruits and vegetables are shipped from overseas instead, a few times a year, to keep locals with a supply of nutrients.
That was until last year, when engineers at the German Aerospace Centre designed and built a greenhouse, with industry-leading technology to allow Antarcticians to grow fruit and vegetables. The greenhouse is housed inside a climate-controlled shipping container and is equipped with 42 LED lamps, extra carbon dioxide and nutrient-rich mist.
The container is suitable to grow a range of produce, with researchers planning to grow between 30 and 50 different species, including leafy greens, strawberries, radishes and tomatoes. The aim is to harvest between 9 and 11 pounds of produce each week going forward.
While this project is a great achievement for Paul Zabel and his team, there may be little need for a greenhouse in Antarctica if global warming continues at it’s alarming rate. Over the past 100 years, temperatures in the region have increased at almost twice the global average. Due to this temperature increase, some Antarctica locals have experienced somewhat of an agricultural boom.
Life on Mars
The project, known as Eden-ISS, is part of a long-term goal to allow astronauts to harvest produce in space. Once the researchers have perfected a growing process for the harsh Antarctic climate, they may be able to harvest fruit and vegetables on Mars or the moon.
This could mean great progress for the German Aerospace Centre, possibly allowing astronauts the time and ability to stay in space, or on Mars for much longer than before. This could be a huge step towards growing life on Mars.
2018 has been a great year for scientific progress across the globe. If you haven’t already, be sure to take a look at parts 1-4 of this series to discover more about some of the most impressive scientific breakthroughs of the year. Alternatively, read ‘Accurate Measurements of Biological Nanoparticles’ for a closer look at the latest research into nanoparticles as potential vehicles for drug delivery.
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