Here is the description of a Micro Climate Simulation System in a Hermetically Sealed Container used as an eco-system. The Eco-Sphere project is meant to allow humans to travel in space and grown their own food along the way. There are two things that will unfold as this project is completed. We will be able to understand how the eco-system on Earth works, and we will have learned how to grow food for Third World countries and we can live on the Earth’s moon or on Mars. There have been five previous attempts to do this in the past 50 years. All of them failed to sustain human life more than a few days. The last one, BIOS-3, is in Siberia of Russia and BioSphere in Tucson, Arizona, USA. In Arizona, the whole project was sold off to The University of Arizona.
The longest amount of time people have lived in a eco-sphere, BIOS-3, is 180 days in 1972 with 85% recycled water.
This is a very large and difficult project. I suspect this project will not be competed with in the next few years. As I learn about the Earth’s eco-system and Mother Nature, this project will change to achieve the goals of an edible eco-system in a contained space (volume) with only light and heat entering the system. What I’m assuming and building now may not be anything what I end up with. All information and results will be posted on this website. All collected data will be presented and downloadable.
Grow Earth plants in space for long space travel; grow food for whoever needs it and grow plants and food on other plants using the Earth’s eco-system.
This project is will demonstrate a biological eco-system contained in a hermetically sealed container. The project is starting out small and working its way up to sustaining mammals. The project is broken down into three parts.
Part 1: Collect weather data for seasonal humidity, temperature, air pressure and sun light. What is interesting is the daily phase shift between the humidity, air pressure and temperature. This data has been collected for two different climates in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California. This part has been done and is being currently published on this website.
Another section is to create an open eco-system where only light and heat runs the system. In this case an Aquaponics system was built to learn how to balance the system. The Aquaponics system produces food to eat; plants and the fish are not feed other than what is grown in the system as part of the decomposition cycles. This part has been built and completed and is being documented on this website.
The section is creating new soil from clay, sand and silt. This means learning how an open eco-system takes and recovers a piece of land through plants, micro-biology and insects. The process descried is Succession. This part is going OK. More needs to be done in learning how the litter layer of soil, canopy layer of plants and soil interact together to predict and outcome.
Part 2: Create a hermetically closed system and simulating climate only with water and air. This comprises of a 30 gallon fish tank equipped with a water heater, water chiller, air heater, air cooler, fan, electronic I2C communication Barometer, I2C communication Hygrometer, I2C communication thermometer and embedded processor running an RTOS. The system can not draw more than 1000 watts per square meter. That is the amount of energy the sun gives to the earth per hour. In this case, the 30 gallon fish tank takes no more than 300 watts.
Part 3:Create a hermetically closed system with fish, insects and plants. Once the coefficients of the PID loops for climate control has been established, tested and proven; different recipes of water, light, plants, fish and insects can be made. The entire system needs to work with partial land and partial water. A “mini” water table needs to be made in the system. The entire system is closed where no light is let in. There is about 2 inches of Styrofoam on all sides of the tank for insulation from the ambient conditions. Light is created with lamps.
I: Collect natural climate data for at least two places. (Completed)
II: Build an open eco-system where there are only inputs of light and heat. (Completed)
III:Build a closed system where the climate is imitated and different profiles can be programmed in. This is only for a half tank of water and air. (Testing)
IV: Run a closed system with water, air, light fish, microbiology and plants.
V: Build a closed system water table in the fish tank. Components in the tank are soil, water, air, light, fish, microbiology and plants.
VI: Use phase V project and add predator-prey cycles with aphids and ladybugs. I’m anticipating a population/timing problem(s).
VII: To be determined after completing Phase I through VI. The project will be too large for me to handle by myself. The whole project will need to be scaled to fit larger cycles.
VIII: The bio-ecosystem needs gravity. If this project is to be used in space, gravity will have to be present. The concept of a free spinning wheel does not work in space. The movie, “2001: A space odyssey” has a space station with a spinning wheel. When people or things move around in it, the space station will start to spin faster or slower; wobble and thwart around. A momentum and inertia control system needs to be developed for this system to work.
Last, this is a description of a Micro Climate Simulation System in a Hermetically Sealed Container used as an eco-system.