Plant Scientist Harvests Success in Antarctica EDEN Greenhouse

Ten polar explorers spent the Antarctic winter isolated at the German Neumayer III Station, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) – a process they call overwintering – and the experience serves as an analog to conditions astronauts will face during long-duration space travel, such as a mission to Mars. A collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) ensured they had fresh produce available all winter. (Credits: NASA/Jess Bunchek)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

When plant scientist Jess Bunchek leaves Antarctica in the coming weeks and returns to her roots at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, she will bring back knowledge to benefit space exploration along with memories that will last a lifetime.

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NASA, DLR Begin New Test Run for Plant Cultivation on the Moon and Mars in Antarctica

Jess Bunchek holds her first harvest in her hand. (Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Ort)
  • NASA guest scientist Jess Bunchek will conduct research in the Antarctic greenhouse until early 2022.
  • Crop yield, plant irrigation, microbiology, crew time and effects on the wellbeing of the wintering team are the focus of the new research mission.
  • The YouTube livestream for the DLR press conference “EDEN ISS – Antarctic Greenhouse Mission 2021” was held on May 4th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CEST.

NEUMAYER STATION III, Antarctica (DLR PR) — Nine weeks of darkness and cold to minus 50 degrees Celsius. A joint series of experiments begins under the harsh conditions of the Antarctic by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for growing vegetables on the moon and Mars. NASA guest scientist Jess Bunchek is researching until the beginning of 2022 how astronauts can grow lots of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs with as little time and energy as possible. 

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