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Automated pH Control of Nutrient Solution in a Hydroponic Plant Growth SystemOver, the years, NASA has played an important role in providing to and the development of automated nutrient delivery and monitoring, systems for growing crops hydroponically for long term space missions. One example are the systems used in the Biomass Production Chamber (BPC) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The current KSC monitoring system is based on an engineering workstation using standard analog/digital input/output hardware and custom written software. The monitoring system uses completely separate sensors to provide a check of control sensor accuracy and has the ability to graphically display and store data form past experiment so that they are available for data analysis [Fortson, 1992]. In many cases, growing systems have not been fitted with the kind of automated control systems as used at KSC. The Center for Food and Environmental Systems for Human Exploration of Space (CFESH) located on the campus of Tuskegee University, has effectively grown sweetpotatoes and peanuts hydroponically for the past five years. However they have adjusted the pH electrical conductivity and volume of the hydroponic nutrient solution only manually at times when the solution was to be replenished or changed out according to its protocol (e.g. one-week, two-week, or two-day cycle). But the pH of the nutrient solution flowing through the channel is neither known nor controlled between the update, change out, or replenishment period. Thus, the pH of the nutrient solution is not held at an optimum level over the span of the plant's growth cycle. To solve this dilemma, an automated system for the control and data logging of pH data relative to sweetpotato production using the nutrient film technique (NFT) has been developed, This paper discusses a microprocessor-based system, which was designed to monitor, control, and record the pH of a nutrient solution used for growing sweetpotatoes using NFT.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Smith, B.
(Tuskegee Inst. AL United States)
Dogan, N.
(Tuskegee Inst. AL United States)
Aglan, H.
(Tuskegee Inst. AL United States)
Mortley, D.
(Tuskegee Inst. AL United States)
Loretan, P.
(Tuskegee Inst. AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
February 22, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: NASA University Research Centers Technical Advances in Aeronautics, Space Sciences and Technology, Earth Systems Sciences, Global Hydrology, and Education
Volume: 2 and 3
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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