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May 8, 2001 - Chat Archive

Farming in Space Chat - BioBLAST Plant Production Simulator


Tue May 8 11:57:02 2001  The host's featured url: http://www.cotf.edu/iss/activities/farminspace.asp

[ ChatModerator - 0 - 07:52:01 ]
Welcome to the *Farming in Space* Chat Series. The current chat, featuring the BioBLAST¨ Plant Production Simulator, begins Tuesday, May 8th, at Noon Eastern Time.

[ ChatModerator - 4 - 08:13:51 ]
Please visit http://www.cotf.edu/iss/activities/farminspace.asp to download the simulator and the corresponding Plant Production Simulator Challenge activity on Monday. Try them out and share your comments and questions during Tuesday's chat.

[ ChatModerator - 8 - 15:14:05 ]
Today's experts are: *Gus Koerner* (Utah State University Faculty-On-Loan to NASA Kennedy Space Center, FL), *Gary Stutte* (Dynamac, Kennedy Space Center, FL), and *James Coffield* (NASA Classroom of the Future, Wheeling, WV).

[ ChatModerator - 10 - 15:17:19 ]
*Dr. Koerner* worked with Bruce Bugbee's group in the research on the initial Mexican dwarf wheat cultivar leading to the development of the Super Dwarf and Apogee wheat cultivars. *Dr. Stutte* is the January 2002 ISS Principal Scientist for the Photosynthesis Experiment Systems and Operations Test (PESTO) Experiment. He is currently researching wheat growth at KSC. *Dr Coffield* assisted in designing the BioBLAST Plant Production Simulator. He is a curriculum writer and programmer with the Classroom of the Future.

[ ChatModerator - 11 - 15:30:16 ]
***Students*** Please use only your first name without any school or city address identification.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 12 - 08:44:52 ]
Dear Moderator, Thank you for the promotion. I am Mr., not Dr. Koerner. I would prefer the students to call me Gus.

[ amandag - 13 - 08:56:50 ]
hello all

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 14 - 08:57:00 ]
Good afternoon.

[ ChatModerator - 15 - 08:58:43 ]
Welcome to the Plant Production Simulator Chat! I would like to begin by asking our experts to share a brief introduction of their involvement with Farming in Space.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 16 - 08:58:43 ]
Good Morning all.

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 17 - 08:59:13 ]
Hi everybody

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 18 - 09:00:54 ]
I am the principal investigator with the PESTO experiment, which is the experiment upon which "Farming in Space" is modelled. The experiment will be measure the effects of microgravity on growth and photosynthesis of wheat. The experiment will be performed on-board the International Space Station.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 19 - 09:01:50 ]
I began working on Space Farming back in 1986 at Utah State University. We primarily worked on wheat, rice and soybeans. During that time we "found" Super Dwarf wheat and Parluda which ended up to be the parents of USU-Apogee. Since 1998, I have been at Kennedy Space Center, working in the Advanced Life Support group, primarily in education programs, similar to this one.

[ ChatModerator - 20 - 09:04:22 ]
Welcome, Gary, Gus, and Jim! I am Meri Cummings, the NASA Classroom of the Future Farming in Space Activity Coordinator. Gus, how did you go about "finding" Parluda and Super Dwarf wheat? What made them good candidates as crops for space?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 21 - 09:04:58 ]
I helped design the Plant Production Simulator for the BioBLAST program. The data used in the simulator was from the research in the Biomass Production Chamber at Kennedy Space Center.

[ ChatModerator - 22 - 09:05:53 ]
Gary, what "key data" addressing the issue of plants as providers of astronaut food do you hope to obtain from your ISS PESTO experiment?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 23 - 09:08:09 ]
We are always looking for new and promising varieties of crops to use in our breeding program. Super Dwarf and Parluda are to cv's (cultivars) that we ran across at the International Center for Wheat and Maize Improvment (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Its all about collaboration. Speaking with other researchers who do similar work as us, helping each other.

[ ChatModerator - 24 - 09:08:46 ]
Welcome, Jim! Could you give us an introduction to the Plant Production Simulator activities that have been added to the Farming in Space Web site?

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 25 - 09:10:09 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary, what "key data" addressing the issue of plants as providers of astronaut food do you hope to obtain from your ISS PESTO experiment?
The PESTO experiment will be measuring photosynthesis, transpiration, and growth during the ISS mission. We will investigate microgravity influences on basic plant process, such as seed germination and early growth, then measure their growth rate. Unfortunately will will be unable to growth them long-enought to produce food for the astronauts and cosmonauts on board. Maybe on another flight!

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 26 - 09:10:15 ]
What made them good crops for space? Primarily height. Most of the super short (less than 40 cm) crops are not good for use in the field. The are too difficult to harvest with conventional farming equipment and the shorter varieties do not compete well with weeds. In our closed production systems, those are not issues we are concerned with.

[ ChatModerator - 27 - 09:10:19 ]
RE: [GusKoernerKSC/USU] We are always looking for new and promising varieties of crops to use in our breeding program. Super Dwarf and Parluda are to cv's (cultivars) that we ran across at the International Center for Wheat and Maize Improvment (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Its all about collaboration. Speaking with other researchers who do similar work as us, helping each other.
Thanks, Gus. What were the specific wheat characteristics you were looking for? Were you searching for a plant that might go into space at the time?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 28 - 09:11:11 ]
The Plant Production Simulator allows students to simulate the growth of wheat, soybean, lettuce, and potatoes under varying conditions of light, carbon dioxide, planting area, etc...

[ ChatModerator - 29 - 09:11:57 ]
Gary, do you find the use of simulators to be useful in projecting data beyond what is feasible in a single lab experiment?

[ amandag - 30 - 09:12:31 ]
Other than the microgravity factor what are some of the other challenges faced when trying to cultivate these crops in space?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 31 - 09:13:18 ]
As part of the Farming in Space Web site we have included the Plant Production Simulator as well as an activity in which students can compare how well the four crops in the simulator meet the needs of humans in terms of water, food, and oxygen production.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 32 - 09:13:58 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary, do you find the use of simulators to be useful in projecting data beyond what is feasible in a single lab experiment?
Simulators are very useful in looking at different possibilities and identifying the most important experiments to perform.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 33 - 09:15:17 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Thanks, Gus. What were the specific wheat characteristics you were looking for? Were you searching for a plant that might go into space at the time?
Before we could consider sending the plant in to space on a system such as Dr. Stutte's, it has to go through many tests. The space systems will normally have higher CO2 levels, be grown hydroponically and will have many different stresses than they would normally see here on earth. Prior to releasing them to NASA, different species and varieties will go through up to 20 generations of testing prior to release.

[ ChatModerator - 34 - 09:15:18 ]
Gus, about how long did it take from finding the Parula and Super Dwarf to breeding the Apogee Wheat? Could you describe some of your experiments? Thanks!

[ amandag - 35 - 09:16:08 ]
Other than the microgravity factor what are some of the other challenges that astronauts are faced with when trying to cultivate these crops in space?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 36 - 09:16:32 ]
Students can use the results of the activity (needs supplied by one square meter of each of the crops) to detemine the best mix of crops to balance the needs of the crew.

[ Bryce - 37 - 09:16:36 ]
Hi Everyone, I am here for Meghan

[ LaurieRubergNASA_COTF - 38 - 09:16:36 ]
Hi All, I am just coming aboard.

[ ChatModerator - 39 - 09:16:36 ]
Welcome, Bryce and Laurie!

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 40 - 09:17:22 ]
RE: [GusKoernerKSC/USU] Before we could consider sending the plant in to space on a system such as Dr. Stutte's, it has to go through many tests. The space systems will normally have higher CO2 levels, be grown hydroponically and will have many different stresses than they would normally see here on earth. Prior to releasing them to NASA, different species and varieties will go through up to 20 generations of testing prior to release.
If we we doing this in the field, it could take up to 20 years!! to run such through evaluations; but in greenhouses and growth chambers, we can grow multiple crops and turn them over several times per year.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 41 - 09:17:25 ]
RE: [amandag] Other than the microgravity factor what are some of the other challenges faced when trying to cultivate these crops in space?
The microgravity factor is what makes farming in space difficult. Two of the big microgravity factors: 1. water, seeds and soil float in space; 2. roots don't known which way is down and shoots don't know which way is up. We must devise ways to contain the soil, secure the seeds, water the plants, and orient them directly. This requires very close collaboration between engineers and scientist to design the best equipment to achieve these goals.

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 42 - 09:18:25 ]
Gus, In the Plant Production Simulator, we used data collected at KSC for Yecora Rojo wheat. What are some of the improvement with Apogee and Super Dwarf?

[ ChatModerator - 43 - 09:18:37 ]
Gary and Gus- Can you briefly describe under what conditions the plants you work with grow most optimally? (CO2 ppm, light, etc.). How many years of testing is required before an experiment like PESTO is ready for Space Flight, Gary???

[ ChatModerator - 44 - 09:20:29 ]
RE: [GaryStuttePESTO/KSC] The microgravity factor is what makes farming in space difficult. Two of the big microgravity factors: 1. water, seeds and soil float in space; 2. roots don't known which way is down and shoots don't know which way is up. We must devise ways to contain the soil, secure the seeds, water the plants, and orient them directly. This requires very close collaboration between engineers and scientist to design the best equipment to achieve these goals.
Gary, do roots have negative phototropism? Does having a light in the chamber seem to give the roots a sense of "down"?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 45 - 09:21:10 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gus, about how long did it take from finding the Parula and Super Dwarf to breeding the Apogee Wheat? Could you describe some of your experiments? Thanks!
USU-Apogee was finally released after about the 16th generation (F16) which took about 6 years. Mostly we ran greenhouse trials comparing them to other known varieties (such as Yecora Rojo and Veery 10) for yield and height. After many successful greenhouse trials, we then moved them into a growth chamber and repeated the tests under high light and elevated CO2, in recirculating hydroponic systems.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 46 - 09:22:34 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary and Gus- Can you briefly describe under what conditions the plants you work with grow most optimally? (CO2 ppm, light, etc.). How many years of testing is required before an experiment like PESTO is ready for Space Flight, Gary???
The optimum conditions will vary according to the requirements of the experiment. For the PESTO experiment, I have selected 1500 ppm CO2, 24 C air temperature and 75% relative humidity as the setpoints. The light intensity is 300 umol m-2 s-1 Photosynthetically Active Radiation (this is as much as will be available on the ISS). These setpoints were determined following extensive laboratory testing. The PESTO experiment has been in development for 4 years, although it built upon many years of experience by other scientist.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 47 - 09:24:17 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary, do roots have negative phototropism? Does having a light in the chamber seem to give the roots a sense of "down"?
Yes, the roots do have a negative phototropism. We utilize two "tricks" to orient the plants. The first is to position the seeds so that the emerging root is directed into the media. The other is to provide light to the germinating seeds, which orients the shoot "up" and root "down".

[ ChatModerator - 48 - 09:24:20 ]
* Welcome * to today's Farming in Space chat featuring the BioBLAST Plant Production Simulator with experts *Gary Stutte, Gus Koerner, and Jim Coffield*. Please feel free to scroll back to a higher number of messages and submit any questions you have for today's experts.

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 49 - 09:26:52 ]
Gus/Gary - Are you currently working on new varieties of wheat, and if so, what improvements are you working towards?

[ ChatModerator - 50 - 09:27:01 ]
I think students get very frustrated when their experiments don't turn out exactly as they had hoped. About what percent of the time do each of you, as scientists, have to revise your experiments before you get the desired results?

[ ChatModerator - 51 - 09:28:59 ]
Bryce and Amanda, Your schools have each been involved in the Farming in Space experiment. Do you have any questions about the experiment, the plants,or the procedures you'd like to ask our experts?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 52 - 09:29:09 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary and Gus- Can you briefly describe under what conditions the plants you work with grow most optimally? (CO2 ppm, light, etc.). How many years of testing is required before an experiment like PESTO is ready for Space Flight, Gary???
The yield and timing of harvest of a wheat crop and be manipulated by the environment. We can bring about a shorter lifecycle with a smaller yield by increasing the temperature. Conversly, if we allow for cooler temperatures such as 19 C, we can have a better seed set, but the harvest may go out to day 70-75 or so after germination instead of the the normal 65-70 days. The yeild components we are most interested in are 1)total seed mass, 2) mass per seed 3) Harvest Index (% edible biomass) and days to harvest. An optimum senerio for growing wheat would be 19-23 degrees C, 1200 PPM CO2, high light (1200 umols), 70% RH, with a 0-4 hour dark period, however these conditions are not absolute and can vary depending on what results you might be looking for.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 53 - 09:30:28 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] I think students get very frustrated when their experiments don't turn out exactly as they had hoped. About what percent of the time do each of you, as scientists, have to revise your experiments before you get the desired results?
Science uses experiments to "search" for an answer to some question. The process of "re-search" speaks for itself! I am continually changing and revising new experiments as I learn from each preceeding one. I don't recall any experiment I've ever done that came out exactly as planned, or that I could not have improved.

[ ChatModerator - 54 - 09:31:52 ]
Thank you for these very thorough answers, Gary and Gus! What have been some of your frustrations in performing these experiments over the years? Or, what are some the biggest problems you have had to overcome in your labs?

[ Bryce - 55 - 09:32:31 ]
Like I said before, I am just here to listen and take notes for Meghan, she couldn't be here now, so don't be suprised if I don't say much.

[ ChatModerator - 56 - 09:32:31 ]
Not a problem at all, Bryce. We're glad you're here!

[ ChatModerator - 57 - 09:35:22 ]
Are there particular problems with hydroponic growth of plants over soil-based experiments? How do you control the CO2 levels? I assume you must have air-tight containers. Is leakage a big problem?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 58 - 09:35:31 ]
RE: [JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture] Gus/Gary - Are you currently working on new varieties of wheat, and if so, what improvements are you working towards?
My previous supervisor/mentor Dr. Bruce Bugbee is still investigating wheat. We (Bugbee et.al) are getting ready to release USU-Perigee which is even shorter and higher yielding than USU-Apogee. Dr. Bugee has also been making significant improvments in rice, and tomato varieties. The goal is always "more bang for the buck", ie., higher yield, shorter crop, better nutritional value, shorter lifecycle, fewer inputs. Investigators at such universities as USU, Cornell, and others are really helping NASA to be more productive with space crops.

[ amandag - 59 - 09:35:59 ]
I have had the pleasure of working directly with the Farming in Space Lab Manager and most of my questions were answered by Merri. :)

[ ChatModerator - 60 - 09:35:59 ]
Thanks, Amanda. ;-)

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 61 - 09:36:52 ]
One of the biggest problems is preventing conditions from changing unexpectedly (lamps burn out, water line becomes disconnected, seeds dry out) and affecting the experiment. There is no substitute for watching the experiment closely to prevent these from becoming major problems! One of my greatest frustrations is continuously repeating an experiment and getting a result completely different that what I expected. One of the greatest feelings of accomplishment is when I figure out why.

[ ChatModerator - 62 - 09:37:47 ]
Gus and Gary- After wheat, what additional crops do you think will soon be studied in space for their potential as food crops?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 63 - 09:39:12 ]
Gary/Gus what role, if any, do models and simulations play in your research.

[ ChatModerator - 64 - 09:39:21 ]
Jim, in their "Which Crops are Most Productive?" Simulator analyses, what should students be looking for in terms of what makes a crop good for space flight?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 65 - 09:39:38 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Thank you for these very thorough answers, Gary and Gus! What have been some of your frustrations in performing these experiments over the years? Or, what are some the biggest problems you have had to overcome in your labs?
One of the biggest problems in any research lab is repeatablity. Can you perform the same experiment over and over and get the same result? Can your colleagues repeat your results? So, to that end we take many precautions, document everything and let our peers review our work. The second biggest problem is funding. Are we doing what NASA wants us to do in such a way that they will keep the research dollars flowing our way?

[ LaurieRubergNASA_COTF - 66 - 09:39:59 ]
Gus and Gary, Have any of the wheat cultivars used in NASA ALS research been selected by US agricultural engineers for large-scale crop growth either outdoors or in controlled green houses?

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 67 - 09:40:35 ]
Several crops have been grown is space. I am currently developing another space flight experiment, RASTA, which will study the use of radishes as a potential salad crop on orbit. Maybe an education module can be developed around this experiment (hint)

[ ChatModerator - 68 - 09:41:31 ]
RE: [GaryStuttePESTO/KSC] Several crops have been grown is space. I am currently developing another space flight experiment, RASTA, which will study the use of radishes as a potential salad crop on orbit. Maybe an education module can be developed around this experiment (hint)
We'll take your hint under consideration, Gary. I like the name. ;-)

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 69 - 09:42:07 ]
The main uses of crops in Advanced Life Support are food production, water purification, and air regeneration (oxygen production/carbon dioxide removal). The activity "Which Crops are Most Productive?" examines how growing well lettuce, wheat, soybeans, and potatoes meets these needs.

[ ChatModerator - 70 - 09:43:29 ]
Thanks, Jim. I'm sure that teachers and students will find this to be an important "next step" in analyzing crops grown after their classroom "Farming in Space" experiments.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 71 - 09:43:38 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gus and Gary- After wheat, what additional crops do you think will soon be studied in space for their potential as food crops?
I do not know all the crops being studied, however the improvments made in rice are very interesting. Recently because we were lucky to have a Japanese student working in our lab, Ms. Maki Monje, she helped us communicate with Japanese researchers. Dr. Bugbee was able to find some very very short rice cultivars that have real potential in space. Easy to germinate and grow and are as short as SD wheat, ~ 25-30 centimeters! Truly amazing.

[ ChatModerator - 72 - 09:44:53 ]
RE: [GusKoernerKSC/USU] I do not know all the crops being studied, however the improvments made in rice are very interesting. Recently because we were lucky to have a Japanese student working in our lab, Ms. Maki Monje, she helped us communicate with Japanese researchers. Dr. Bugbee was able to find some very very short rice cultivars that have real potential in space. Easy to germinate and grow and are as short as SD wheat, ~ 25-30 centimeters! Truly amazing.
How long does it take in this type of rice to go from seed to harvestable?

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 73 - 09:46:51 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Thanks, Jim. I'm sure that teachers and students will find this to be an important "next step" in analyzing crops grown after their classroom "Farming in Space" experiments.
That's right. While nothing can take the place of hand-on experiments in the lab, the Plant Production Simulator allows students to perform additional experiments that would be difficult or impossible to perform in their labs.

[ ChatModerator - 74 - 09:47:05 ]
Gary, how far into your PESTO testing are you? Have the astronauts who will be onboard ISS Expedition 4 already begun training with your BPS system?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 75 - 09:47:54 ]
RE: [LaurieRubergNASA_COTF] Gus and Gary, Have any of the wheat cultivars used in NASA ALS research been selected by US agricultural engineers for large-scale crop growth either outdoors or in controlled green houses?
Unfortunatly Laurie, most cereal crops we grow are not much use for the general population; planting and harvest equipment were not designed for 30 cm crops. We have share much information however, in Salad Crops. Gary knows much about this, but especially up north, lettuce and spinach are common hydroponic crops being grown in large urban areas.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 76 - 09:49:17 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] How long does it take in this type of rice to go from seed to harvestable?
Rice is typically about a 100-120 day crop, but I need to verify this in respect to SD Rice.

[ Patand4thgradeclass - 77 - 09:50:05 ]
We are a 4th. grade class who will be participating in the growth of wheat through our own hydroponic set-up like one of Epcots. Any suggestions of some of the types of wheat best used?

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 78 - 09:51:25 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] Gary, how far into your PESTO testing are you? Have the astronauts who will be onboard ISS Expedition 4 already begun training with your BPS system?
We are very advanced in the PESTO testing. The ISS expedition 4 crew has been trained, and I am currently testing the PESTO experiment in the Biomass Production System (BPS) hardware. The current experiment will simulate the ISS environment, be conducted in the actual flight hardware, and follow all the crew procedures. We are scheduled to "launch" tomorrow morning.

[ ChatModerator - 79 - 09:51:42 ]
RE: [Patand4thgradeclass] We are a 4th. grade class who will be participating in the growth of wheat through our own hydroponic set-up like one of Epcots. Any suggestions of some of the types of wheat best used?
That's great! You can receive free Apogee and Super Dwarf Wheat seeds using the email address for your request from the materials section of the Farming in Space activity. Any other suggestions, Gus and Gary? Do the wheat crops have any special hydroponic solution requirements?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 80 - 09:52:46 ]
RE: [Patand4thgradeclass] We are a 4th. grade class who will be participating in the growth of wheat through our own hydroponic set-up like one of Epcots. Any suggestions of some of the types of wheat best used?
If you want to continue to grow wheat, I could use Super Dwarf and compare it to USU-Apogee. For fun, you could have a third treatment of locally grown, or store bought wheat seed. But watch out for the height. The field seed will probably be twice (or more) as tall.

[ ChatModerator - 81 - 09:53:09 ]
RE: [GaryStuttePESTO/KSC] We are very advanced in the PESTO testing. The ISS expedition 4 crew has been trained, and I am currently testing the PESTO experiment in the Biomass Production System (BPS) hardware. The current experiment will simulate the ISS environment, be conducted in the actual flight hardware, and follow all the crew procedures. We are scheduled to "launch" tomorrow morning.
That's exciting, Gary. I hope you'll be videotaping the plant growth! ;-)

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 82 - 09:53:26 ]
RE: [GusKoernerKSC/USU] If you want to continue to grow wheat, I could use Super Dwarf and compare it to USU-Apogee. For fun, you could have a third treatment of locally grown, or store bought wheat seed. But watch out for the height. The field seed will probably be twice (or more) as tall.
Sorry for the typos... should read "I would"

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 83 - 09:54:17 ]
RE: [Patand4thgradeclass] We are a 4th. grade class who will be participating in the growth of wheat through our own hydroponic set-up like one of Epcots. Any suggestions of some of the types of wheat best used?
Great! Both Apogee and Super Dwarf do quite well in hydroponics. Gus has grown much more than I, but if the nutrient solution is supplied with air and nutrients they should do just fine.

[ ChatModerator - 84 - 09:54:42 ]
Please be sure to type a number higher than 10 in the "Show at least" box to read all of the messages that are being discussed in today's chat!

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 85 - 09:55:16 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] That's exciting, Gary. I hope you'll be videotaping the plant growth! ;-)
We are collecting daily images of the growth and hope to generate a digital movie at the end of the experiment.

[ LaurieRubergNASA_COTF - 86 - 09:55:22 ]
Gus and Gary, I have visited a co-generation facility in Western Pa. that uses the residual heat from a power plant to heat an adjacent green house that primarily grows tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown hydroponically, and sold to local restaurants and grocery stores one an on-going contractual basis. Does the ALS plant growth anticipate some form of energy/heat co-generation with the space colony's power system? Have you been studying how much variation in light and heat can be allowed for crop growth systems?

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 87 - 09:57:26 ]
RE: [ChatModerator] That's great! You can receive free Apogee and Super Dwarf Wheat seeds using the email address for your request from the materials section of the Farming in Space activity. Any other suggestions, Gus and Gary? Do the wheat crops have any special hydroponic solution requirements?
If you go to http://www.usu.edu/~cpl/apogee.html , you can request seed from Dr. Bugbee. They are set up to fill teacher requests. As for nutrient solution, I recommend a commercial hydroponic solution by Grace Sierra, called Peter's Hydro-Sol. It does not contain calcium, so you would need to add Calcium in the form of Calcium Nitrate (CaNO3). Both are relativly cheap and can be purchased from a greenhouse supplier.

[ ChatModerator - 88 - 09:59:06 ]
It is 1 pm and time to bring our chat to a close, experts please feel free to continue answering any posted questions. Thanks to today's experts, Gary Stutte, Gus Koerner, and Jim Coffield, and to our guests, for your enthusiastic participation in today's Farming in Space chat!!!

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 89 - 09:59:42 ]
RE: [LaurieRubergNASA_COTF] Gus and Gary, I have visited a co-generation facility in Western Pa. that uses the residual heat from a power plant to heat an adjacent green house that primarily grows tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown hydroponically, and sold to local restaurants and grocery stores one an on-going contractual basis. Does the ALS plant growth anticipate some form of energy/heat co-generation with the space colony's power system? Have you been studying how much variation in light and heat can be allowed for crop growth systems?
The short answer is yes. By definition an ALS is a closed system in which not only the life support functions (O2, CO2, H20, food) must be in balance, but allow the energy requirements must balance. This is an area where modelling and simulations are especially valuable to evaluate different co-generation plans. Dr. Alan Drysdale, Boeing Corporation, has been evalating different models for the ALS system. He would be a much better person to discuss these issues than I.

[ GaryStuttePESTO/KSC - 90 - 10:00:56 ]
Thanks for everyones input.

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 92 - 10:01:16 ]
RE: [LaurieRubergNASA_COTF] Gus and Gary, I have visited a co-generation facility in Western Pa. that uses the residual heat from a power plant to heat an adjacent green house that primarily grows tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown hydroponically, and sold to local restaurants and grocery stores one an on-going contractual basis. Does the ALS plant growth anticipate some form of energy/heat co-generation with the space colony's power system? Have you been studying how much variation in light and heat can be allowed for crop growth systems?
One of the things researchers are looking at is "Failure Analysis" ie., what happens if power systems onboard fail for 12-48 hours. What will be the effect on the crop and what can be done to minimize loss or experiment failure. This is where modeling comes in. If we are careful in collecting environmental data, we can make predictions on what will happen and then validate the models with actual experiments.

[ JimCoffield/NASAClassroomOfTheFuture - 93 - 10:01:19 ]
Thanks. Don't forget to check out the Plant Production Simulator at http://www.cotf.edu/iss/activities/farminspace.asp

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 94 - 10:02:21 ]
This sure has been fun. Thank you for inviting me.

[ ChatModerator - 95 - 10:03:03 ]
The Farming in Space activity can be downloaded from the International Space Station Challengeª Web site (http://www.cotf.edu/iss/activities/farminspace.asp). Please continue to visit the site for updates, and to view the 4 Farming in Space crops (Improved Basic Fast Plants, AstroPlants, Apogee Wheat, and Super Dwarf Wheat) from our Live Lab Cam. Thank you all!!!

[ amandag - 96 - 10:03:21 ]
Thank you for all of your expertise

[ GusKoernerKSC/USU - 97 - 10:04:35 ]
Bye to all. If there are any residual questions, you may email me at gus@cc.usu.edu

[ ChatModerator - 98 - 10:05:10 ]
Thanks, Gus, Gary, and Jim. It was a good chat!

[ LaurieRubergNASA_COTF - 99 - 10:05:24 ]
I enjoyed the chat. Thanks to the experts for sharing their knowledge. Thanks to our guests for bringing such good questions. Those interested in more information about Farming in Space can check out materials available on the Web at http:www.cotf.edu/iss/activities/farminspace.

 
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