Poly-Culture Food Production Mass Balances Prediction in a Semi-Closed Lunar Greenhouse Prototype (LGH)
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In 2010 Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I) tailored and applied an existing plant growth model for application to the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) Lunar Greenhouse Prototype (LGH). The activity was carried on in collaboration with UA-CEAC and Sadler Machine Co. (USA) in the framework of the NASA Ralph Steckler Phase I Space Grant effort. Starting from the results of that activity, the LGH facility data collection system in aid to the modelling effort has been improved through support by the NASA Ralph Steckler Phase II Space Grant and of a wider consortium. This paper will present the quantified mass balances and the flows of input resources (i.e. water, carbon dioxide, dry fertilizer salts) and output production (i.e. biomass, water condensate, oxygen) and their comparison to the values predicted by the plant growth model, developed starting from Cavazzoni’s Modified Energy Cascade (MEC) model. Capability for reliable crop yield prediction will be discussed in the paper with main lessons learned from the activity.