A hi-tech space vegetable garden for the simulated mission to Mars

There will be a hi-tech space vegetable garden in the simulation of a mission to Mars scheduled in Armenia from 5 March to 8 April 2024: dubbed Hort3Space, it will be realized by Italian sustainable energy development agency Enea and Rome’s Sapienza University with a completely automated innovative system, equipped with special LED lights and an integrated robotic arm, and it will be set up inside an inflatable tent.

The simulation, coordinated by the Austrian Space Forum with the support of Armenian institutions, will see six astronauts working on scientific experiments in geosciences, robotics, engineering, life sciences and astrobiology. Hort3Space has been selected because it is able to develop innovative equipment for the hydroponic cultivation of several species of micro-vegetables and it has been designed so as to reduce the astronauts’ workload, foster the recovery and recycling of waste, and maximize the production of fresh vegetables.

The mission, which is part of the Amadee-24 international project, is slated for the Armenian province of Ararat, which for geomorphological characteristics recalls the surface of Mars. In the simulation, innovative space devices will also be tested, such as simulators of space suits and hi-tech platforms for seeking traces of forms of life.