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A novel crop cultivation system for the EMCS

The TIME SCALE project was presented at the MELISSA workshop, June 8 - 9, 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) project aims to produce food, water and oxygen for manned space missions. They organized a workshop to share and discuss relevant challenges, results and future research.

TIME SCALE oral presentation


TIME SCALE - A novel crop cultivation system for the EMCS


S. van Delden1, S.A. Wolff2, A.I.K. Jost2, L. Marcelis1

1) Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2) Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS), NTNU Social Research, Trondheim, Norway


The TIME SCALE project will bring fundamental research on plant, crop and algae growth in space to the next level by further development of the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS). The EMCS contains rotors allowing scientific research under a range of gravitational conditions. A state of the art crop cultivation system (CCS) for the EMCS will be developed and tested.

Current water and nutrient supply systems in space are not free from complications. Both in terms of operation and system scalability for extra-terrestrial cultivation systems. One of the focal points of the project is to develop a water and nutrient recirculation supply system for the new CCS. The new system intends to grow plants in water with dissolved nutrients (without solid substrate) and includes early warning systems that involve mathematical model predictions and usage of optimized sensor technologies to monitor plant nutrient availability. Our design aims to ensure a safe and reliable food supply in future space exploration. Gained knowledge and concepts will also be explored for terrestrial research and commercial plant cultivation practices.

June 6, 2016. Illustration: Wageningen University.