365 days in the Antarctic, including 257 days cut off from the outside world, together with the crew members of the overwintering team at the Neumayer III Antarctic station, which is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) –in December 2017, DLR scientist Paul Zabel relocated to the Antarctic, where he cultivated vegetables, salads and herbs in the EDEN ISS greenhouse using artificial light, effective nutrient solutions and completely without soil. He was very successful: During that year 'Antarctic gardener’ Zabel grew a total of 77 kilograms of lettuce, 67 kilograms of cucumbers and 46 kilograms of tomatoes.
With the EDEN ISS greenhouse in the inhospitable environment of the Antarctic, the DLR scientists are looking to get as close as possible to the conditions of a long-term mission in space. The research laboratory not only serves to test the cultivation of vegetables for future crewed space missions to the Moon and Mars, but also allows scientists to research food production in climatically unfavorable areas such as deserts and Arctic regions.
In the years 2019 and 2020 DLR, together with the AWI and other research partners, will further develop the production processes in the EDEN ISS greenhouse. The project will be continued and be open to researchers from all over the world.
Paul Zabel spent some 365 days in Antarctica – 257 of them isolated from the outside world – relying only on himself and his comrades in the overwintering crew. The Antarctic gardener, who works at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), has tested the cultivation of vegetables for missions to the Moon and Mars in the EDEN ISS greenhouse, and has succeeded in growing peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and different varieties of lettuce and herbs under artificial light.
The Antarctic greenhouse EDEN ISS has weathered the polar night – as well as Antarctic storms and temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius – in its practical test under the direction of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It has been yielding herbs, lettuce and freshly harvested vegetables to the 10-member overwintering crew in the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Neumayer Station III for the first time since the beginning of 2018. After more than half a year of operation in Antarctica, the self-sufficient greenhouse concept appears to be effective for climatically demanding regions on Earth, as well as for future manned missions to the Moon and Mars. DLR researcher Paul Zabel is overcoming challenges, as well as acquiring knowledge from cultivating plants under such harsh conditions. To the overwintering team, the fresh greens are a welcome change during their long-term isolation. Zabel will report on his experiences in a live transmission from Antarctica on 13 September 2018.
The EDEN ISS greenhouse has been in the Antarctic for nearly six months, and for four of these, Paul Zabel from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been operating the greenhouse on his own. It is now fully operational. Paul Zabel harvests an average of 740 grams of tomatoes, 1.8 kilograms of cucumbers, and 400 grams of kohlrabi every week, in addition to various herbs, lettuce and radish varieties.
While the temperatures in the Antarctic gradually drop below 20 degrees Celsius and the Sun barely rises above the horizon, the plants being cultivated in the experimental greenhouse EDEN ISS are growing and thriving. After the first three weeks, Paul Zabel from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has, over the last few days, harvested the first crops in the cold environment.
Counting leaves and weighing cucumbers: DLR scientist Paul Zabel will be leaving to Antarctica in Dezember 2017 on his one-year expedition as part of the EDEN ISS project. In DLR´s blog he describes the tasks and challenges he will face.
EDEN ISS - Ground demonstration of plant cultivation technologies for safe food production in space. On the project website DLR scientist Paul Zabel and the EDEN ISS team publish news and info about the project.
Working and living in the eternal ice. The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) operates the Neumayer Station III in Antarctica since 2009.