Paul Zabel has been working at the DLR Institute of Space Systems in the Space Segment Systems Analysis department since 2001. He has been enthused by science fiction since childhood. That ultimately brought him to complete a degree in aerospace engineering at the Technical University of Dresden. He works in the EDEN research group, founded in 2011. His research area is life support systems for future crewed space missions. He has specialised in the development of plant cultivation systems for food production during such missions. In the EDEN research group laboratory he regularly experiments with different vegetables to optimise the environmental conditions of the plants so that as much food as possible is produced in the smallest possible space and with the lowest possible energy consumption.
Since 2015, Zabel has been working on the international EDEN ISS project. The objective of this project, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research programme, is the testing of technologies for plant cultivation in space. For this, these technologies are being incorporated in two sea containers and sent to the Antarctic for a year-long expedition. From December 2017, Zabel will operate this container greenhouse at the German Neumayer III research station for one year and produce fresh vegetables for the station’s crew. In his blog posts, he reports on the progress of the project, the preparation for winter in Antarctica and the technologies required to keep plants alive in space so that the astronauts can eat.