As global interest in deep space exploration rises, new mission architectures and new dwelling solutions must be sought for to accomplish longer and safer permanence in space.
Less dependency from Earth supplies, better psychological and physical conditions for the astronauts, higher safety, and lower energy and resources consumption are the main requirements for such missions, and must be matched and experimented from the very beginning of human deep space exploration. To address this same need for higher feasibility and sustainability, this research explores a novel design for a greenhouse module that can supply 100% of the food required for a crew of four astronauts on an extended mission to Mars, while also providing physical and mental health benefits for the crew members.
The module accomplishes this by maximizing space and minimizing mass with a novel spiral system within an inflatable, cylindrical shell designed to protect astronauts from harmful radiation. Crops, which supply the food for the crew, grow in modular hydroponic trays that descend from the top floor of the module along six spiral tracks. The lighting, temperature, nutrient supply, track length, and vertical separation of each spiral is matched to plants growth patterns and needs, thereby maximizing volume for growth, optimizing growing conditions, and providing isolation in case of disease.