The effect of hydrogel on the plants growth in the GreenHab
In the next long-duration exploration, plant systems will become essential components: the farther and longer humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food and atmosphere recycling. Thus, we definitely need robust and innovative plant systems which work in particular environments and with limited equipment, space, water and suitable media for plant growth. Our MDRS mission aims at furthering already existing research, and we propose to study the effect of hydrogels on the plants’ growth. Hydrogels are polymers absorbing large quantities of water and fixing seedling roots. Thus, they can considerably reduce plants’ stress water loss and improve their growth and survival. Hydogels will be tested in a context of reduced irrigation and using local soil powder, generally considered as less suitable for plant growth. Hydrogels could provide a robust and innovative equipment to set up a Greenhouse, enhancing growth and quality and/or allowing the use of in situ loam from Martian soil powder to support good plant growth.