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System development and early biological tests in NASA's biomass production chamberThe Biomass Production Chamber at Kennedy Space Center was constructed to conduct large scale plant growth studies for NASA's CELSS program. Over the past four years, physical systems and computer control software have been continually upgraded and the degree of atmospheric leakage from the chamber has decreased from about 40 to 5 percent of the total volume per day. Early tests conducted with a limited degree of closure showed that total crop (wheat) growth from the best trays was within 80 percent of reported optimal yields for similar light levels. Yields from subsequent tests under more tightly closed conditions have not been as good--up to only 65 percent of optimal yields. Yields appear to have decreased with increasing closure, yet potential problems exist in cultural techniques and further studies are warranted. With the ability to tightly seal the chamber, quantitative data were gathered on CO2 and water exchange rates. Results showed that stand photosynthesis and transpiration reached a peak near 25 days after planting, soon after full vegetative ground cover was established. In the final phase of testing when atmospheric closure was the highest, ethylene gas levels in the chamber rose from about 10 to nearly 120 ppb. Evidence suggests that the ethylene originated from the wheat plants themselves and may have caused an epinastic rolling of the leaves, but no apparent detrimental effects on whole plant function.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Wheeler, R. M.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Mackowiak, C. L.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Dreschel, T. W.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Sager, J. C.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Prince, R. P.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Knott, W. M.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Hinkle, C. R.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Strayer, R. F.
(Bionetics Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1990
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:103494
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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