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Plant Responses to Rarified AtmospheresReduced atmospheric pressures will likely be used to minimize mass and engineering requirements for plant growth habitats used in extraterrestrial applications. This report provides a brief survey of key literature related to responses of plants to atmospheric variables and a broad rationale for designing minimal atmospheres for future plant growth structures on the Martian surface. The literature and recent work suggest that atmospheric pressure limits for normal plant function are likely to be 10 kPa or perhaps slightly lower. At Kennedy Space Center, a chamber with high vacuum capability was used to design and begin construction of a system for testing plant responses to reduced pressure atmospheres. A test rack with lighting provided by 3, high-pressure sodium vapor lamps was built to conduct measurements of short-term plant responses. Initial experiments with lettuce showed that a pressure of 10 kPa resulted in a 6.1-fold increase in the rate of water loss compared to water loss at ambient pressure (101 kPa).
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Corey, Kenneth A.
(Massachusetts Univ. Amherst, MA, United States)
Fowler, Philip A.
(Dynamac Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Wheeler, Raymond M.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Mars Greenhouses: Concepts and Challenges. Proceedings from a 1999 Workshop
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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