A Gamble

Today we are working on a grant to fund our Plant Respiration Project that is presently on ODE. This grant is through SpaceGambit  We learned of the grant through Mach 30. If we can complete the application and receive funding, we will start one of the first projects that came from discussing and wargaming the novel Issyroo.

This involves studying the respiration rates of plants. Once we have a test apparatus that gives us the data, we can make much better decisions on the kinds of plants necessary to survive in space or on Mars.While we know that it takes about 400 plants per person per year to provide oxygen to survive, we have no clue as to what plants will work for oxygen and food production. As we’ve discussed before, there simply isn’t enough data out there. Hence the plant respiration project.

The project was the brainchild of a late night discussion on Google+ with a bunch of Mach 30 and maker space members. The realization that no one had tested food plants astounded us. It gave a major plot line to the story as well as made Aaron and I think about whether or not we could do this.

While major science experiments are usually the purview of the scientific community, we wanted to do something that the ‘common man’ could do. That students in high school or the avid gardener could accomplish. We realize that if we are to become a space faring civilization, we must have mixed facets of society involved, and not just the military, scientific or educational communities. We need to include the dreamer, visionary, gardener with dirt on their hands and the social engineers that lurk under the guise of grandparents or loving family. It has to be a mix of people. Moreover, it is our belief that the major occupations of humanity in space or on other worlds will be life support and agriculturalists. Scientific exploration may only comprise 10-20% of those involved. The rest will be involved in keeping the colony alive. This means we must understand the symbiosis of humans, plants and atmospheres.

It is this experiment about plant respiration, which may lead to better understanding of extraterrestrial agriculture, that we hope to fund via SpaceGambit.

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