That proposal by Dartmouth students to grow kale in greenhouses on Mars that I mentioned last week impressed NASA, it seems:
A team from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering that designed a greenhouse for Mars has been announced the winner of the 2019 NASA BIG Idea Challenge today at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The Dartmouth team, comprised of undergraduate students, was honored for their design of a multi-use greenhouse that allows astronauts to grow their own food on the red planet.
In addition to growing food in the hostile Mars environment, Dartmouth’s DEMETER (Deployable Enclosed Martian Environment for Technology, Eating, and Recreation) greenhouse proved that it could be transported millions of miles from Earth, deployed, and then sustained with limited technology and resources. To support the emotional health and well-being of astronauts, the greenhouse also features an exercise area and relaxation space designed to help astronauts who will live in early Martian outposts composed mostly of red dust and little scenic variety.
Members of the winning team will now have a shot at landing coveted internships at NASA this summer.