GreenHab Report – January 16th

GreenHab Report
16/01/17 – Richard Blake
Sol 1
GreenHab Status:
All previously planted seedlings are still growing. Still unable to leave plants overnight in the GreenHab due to the low night time temperatures. Plants will remain inside the main Hab during the night under grow lights.
GreenHab Update:
Seedlings with enough growth were transferred from the growth matrix they were planted in to larger pots filled with potting mix. A number of these seedlings were also kept in the GreenHab during the day. I continued to monitor temperatures around the station today, and, as it was a sunny day, the GreenHab air temperature reached the low 40’s (◦C). This is ok for the plants to be in as long as they have adequate water and that the fans are not creating wind. They will still be kept inside overnight until there is a heater installed. Michaela continued growing her spinach seeds in petri dishes under the Misia Mars designed lamp. She also transferred some of the seeds into a hydroponic solution, designed by her students, also under the Misia Mars lamp.
– What is chard?
– Need more pots and planter boxes to grow plants in, preferably those with an upper width of 20cm+ (8 inches?).
– Requesting more seeds to plant, with a greater variety. Ideally, corn, chillies, tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes,
– And, if at all possible, capsicums, sweet potatoes, a grape vine and small citrus tree.
– Are there any schematics for assembling the hydroponics system in the GreenHab?

GreenHab Report – January 15th

GreenHab Report

15/01/17 – Richard Blake

Sol 0


GreenHab Status:

Took command of the GreenHab, going through the inventory and taking stock of the current plantings. All growth is currently confined to the lower section of the Hab, utilising a grow light scavenged from the grow tent in the GreenHab. The GreenHab itself currently gets too cold overnight for plants to survive as the heater is non-functioning, hopefully it will be fixed on Tuesday. Seedlings are growing well in the main Hab, thanks to the GreenHab officer from crew 172. Lettuce, onion, and what appear to be some bean seedlings are all growing well.


GreenHab Update:

I have planted half a tray with basil seeds and the other half with chard (what is chard? Is it an American word for a kind of spinach? Silverbeet?). If they are still viable they should start to sprout within a few days.

I have also begun logging the temperatures of the main Hab, the GreenHab, the grow tent within the GreenHab as well as outside. These measurements were taken every hour, on the hour, and plotted in a graph of temperature over time.

Helped to set up Michaela’s spinach seedling experiment. I repaired the stand the seedlings are designed to grow on while she transferred the sprouting spinach seeds officer to wet cotton wool in petri dishes. They are now under a grow light where they should continue to germinate.

Attached:            photo of existing seedlings,

photo of newly planted seeds and Michaela’s experiment, and,

a graph of the day-time temperature.


GreenHab Report – January 14th

Crew 172 Final GreenHab Report
GreenHab Status: at the moment the GreenHab is not a suitable place to grow any except the hardiest plants (succulents, lichen, etc.). Within a 24-hour period temperatures have gone from 25F to 101F. Once the A/C + heater are fully functional and both controlled by the thermostat and grow lights are installed, it will be a great space for plant growth and experimentation.

Advice for Upcoming Crews: if you hope to grow plants before environmental control is established in the GreenHab you should grow them in the main Hab. The Science Dome, even with the grow tent and grow light, is far too cold for most plants to survive during the winter.

Near-term Recommendations: beyond environmental control and grow lights, general work lights should be installed so crew can work in the GreenHab after dark, some sort of humidifier should be installed (though the full aquaponics system may add some much needed humidity to the dry desert air), and my inventory (or some version of it) should be shared with future crews: If I had known, even a subset, of what the GreenHab had in stock, what its dimensions were, and its general state of affairs, I would’ve arrived at MDRS much better equipped to succeed. Fortunately I was able to get some useful information on current plant growth from the outgoing GreenHab Officer (Crew 171) and I did my best to provide that same service to the incoming crew (Crew 173).

Longer-term Recommendations: a future GreenHab Officer or MDRS should build some sort of ongoing environmental monitoring system (temp, humidity, sunlight, pressure, etc.), MDRS should establish standard forms that allow GreenHab Officers to pass forward information about current plants and request specific items to be planted by a preceding crew, and MDRS should make clear the overall goals of the facility (growth for consumption, testing strains resistant to harsh conditions, crew psychological benefit, etc.).

Summary: Once basic systems are up and running, such as environmental control and the aquaponics system, the GreenHab could be of great use to future crews and a major asset to MDRS. Until that time it is little more than a storage facility lacking accessible information on its current state, long-term purpose, and potential to facilitate crew research. For the sake and success of future crews I think solving these communication and information issues should be a high priority.


Ad astra,

Patrick Gray – GreenHab Officer, Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 12th

GreenHab Report

Current Setup
I currently have all plants on the first floor of the GreenHab under our one grow light. We are growing 27 spinach seeds for Crew 173’s hydroponics experiment, I have just recently planted onion and lettuce for future crews, and are continuing the growth of all Crew 171’s plants for future crews.

GreenHab Update
The heater is still not working and temperature swings are still too much for plants to handle. It was 105 yesterday at 1PM in the GreenHab just from solar heating. So it seems nearly certain that the A/C and heater must work in conjunction even in the middle of the winter.
Photo of the new spinach for Crew 173 and new lettuce and onion.


Photo of the current location of plants on the 1st floor of the Hab under the grow light.
Patrick Gray
GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 7th

GreenHab Report

GreenHab Facility Update and Recommendations: Heater is still not working. The GreenHab is more hospitable than outside but only slightly. Temperature last night inside the GreenHab was: 30F and temperature today was: 35F. On sunny days it is also getting too hot for some plants (even though the heater was turning off appropriately upon reaching set temperature). On Sol 4 it reached 105F in the GreenHab at 2:30. So until the heater and A/C are functioning I recommend keeping plants in the Hab or closely monitoring the weather and moving them accordingly. Another option is to move the grow tent into the Science Dome and keep the tent in there with the grow light, but this only allows for a very small amount of plants to be grown and could still be too cold. I will move the grow tent in there and measure temperature.

Plant Growth Update: Due to the heater no longer functioning I have moved the plants and a grow light into the Hab to keep the plants healthy. After 24 hours they are doing quite well on the first floor of the Hab and already responding well to the new grow light installation. I am beginning new growth for Crew 173. 20 spinach seeds planted in the growth matrix and I will post updates for Crew 173’s information as they develop.

Patrick Gray
GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 5th

GreenHab Report

Facility Update: The heater is officially working in the GreenHab now. The temperature inside the facility was 13 C when I left this afternoon at 4PM with an outdoor temperature of -2 C I’ve moved all the plants from the first level of the Hab into the area directly in front of the heater in the GreenHab, but still a safe distance away for their own well being and for fire safety. We shall see how they fare on this wintry night.

Other Notes: GreenHab inventory will continue tomorrow. Please reach out if you are a future crew member or GreenHab team member and would like any other information.

Patrick Gray

GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – January 4th

GreenHab Report

Temperature Issues: The heater has been turned off because it is only blowing room temperature air. It has been turned off from the breaker box in the GreenHab. All growth in the GreenHab is pending assistance from the contractor who is coming to help fix the heater; nighttime temperatures are currently too low for plant survival.

Other Notes: After the temperature in the GreenHab is regulated and at  healthy levels for the plants the photoperiod in the Utah winter is too short for meaningful plant growth. Future researchers expecting to grow plants in the GreenHab during the winter should make sure they have grow lights. I currently have all my plants in the lower level of the Hab. I will report on the progress over the coming days.

Patrick Gray

GreenHab Officer – Crew 172

GreenHab Report – December 29th

Crop tending and data capture for the bioregenerative life support
system research took a great deal of time today.  Plant growth
properties, size and number of leafs, pH/EC, and photos were recorded.
Due to unforeseen issues with the GreenHab, data collection will need
to continue after the duration of simulation at MDRS.

Brittany Zimmerman

GreenHab Report – December 27th

Today we have deemed efforts to utilize the GreenHab
officially ineffectual; nevertheless, the day proved to be productive
for the growth of our Martian cultivars within the crew quarters.
Radishes, mystery crop (which we are beginning to believe is
Turmeric), Red Oak lettuce and Green Oak lettuce varieties have been
thinned and planted into canopy density experimental setups.  The
plant conveyor research continues, although rather languidly.   All
experiments using soil are duplicated using a hydroponic testbed for
future evaluation of the similitude of plant growth properties with
respect to nutrient medium.

Brittany Zimmerman
GreenHab Officer
Crew 171

GreenHab Report – December 26th

GreenHab Report:

There is not much to report from the GreenHab today.  We have moved our experiments into the lower level of the Hab and will not be able to move them back into the GreenHab until the heater is functioning and we have control of the temperature.  Ideally, we would like to be able to maintain the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F at all times.  In contrast, the low temperature last night was 26 F and peaked today at 93 F.  Obviously, these are not conditions that are suitable for plant growth.  The first step in once again regaining control of the temperature is to get the heater functioning again.

The germination front is going quite well!  We saw many more seedlings sprout and now have confirmation that all types of species that we planted at the beginning of our mission have germinated.  We are very excited to see the pinto bean, kidney bean, and popcorn grow up before the end of our mission.  Over the next few days, we will be working on transplanting the more mature seedlings and providing them nutrients through hydroponics and soil as well as beginning data collection on the lettuce experiments.


Thank you,

-Sean Gellenbeck

SEDS-MDRS Crew GreenHab Officer #2