August 3, 2015 – The Mars Society, based in Lakewood, Colorado, has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to help raise $10,000 to rebuild and refurbish the greenhouse used at the organization’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah to carry out food and plant research important for eventual human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.
The MDRS green house (commonly referred to as the GreenHab) was severely damaged by fire late last year. The MDRS staff determined that the facility was unfit for further use and needs to be rebuilt.
A plan for the new GreenHab includes building a geodesic dome designed to house an assortment of food gardens and science experiments. More efficient, easier to use and healthier for plants, the new structure will ensure that plant and food research remain a key aspect of the overall MDRS simulation program.
A generous donation immediately following the GreenHab fire in December allowed the Mars Society to cover the cost of a temporary grow tent for plant research during the remainder of the 2014-15 field season. The Mars Society was also able to purchase materials to build the new GreenHab dome structure.
Since then, Mars Society staff and volunteers have constructed a small sample geodesic test unit and completed a work trip to MDRS last week to lay the building foundation, with plans to return to the Utah site in September to build the new dome in time for the upcoming crew field season, which begins in mid-October.
The Mars Society has been able to raise part of the funds needed to fully rebuild and restore the MDRS GreenHab, but the organization does not have the money to equip the planned facility with necessary tools to perform crew research and testing.
MDRS staff intend to build new planters at MDRS to study dirt and regolith, install a hydroponics system that can eventually be converted into aquaponics, and purchase LED lighting, environmental controls, fans, sensors, Raspberry Pis and other supplies and equipment, all needed to ensure that crews using the GreenHab are able to provide the latest research in planning for human Mars exploration.
MDRS allows people to experience what it will be like to live and work on another planet. MDRS has hosted nearly 1,000 engineers, scientists, doctors, educators and university students from all over the globe. Each year, crews of six live, work, and train at the facility for two-week field rotations running from October through May.
MDRS offers an unprecedented opportunity to carry out Mars field research in a variety of key scientific and engineering disciplines that will help prepare humans for the exploration of that planet. Plant growth will be a necessary component for human space exploration.
If you’d like to contribute to the Mars Society’s crowd funding campaign, visit: