Growing Beyond Earth: Maker Contest

Interested in promoting the contest? Share our contest overview in print or online.
And share your own developments using #GrowingBeyondEarth and #SPACEgarden on Twitter and Instagram.


Brainstorming? Use this worksheet to help get your ideas and teams in order.
This worksheet is adapted from materials graciously made available to the contest by MakeHaven in New Haven, CT. 


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Ralph Fritsche, Senior Project Manager for Food Production in Support of Deep Space Exploration, NASA

Sites all over the nation are participating - see if one or more are near you!

Growing Beyond Earth (GBE) is extending its reach nationwide as we call on makers across America to submit their designs for gardening systems to be used aboard spacecraft. The Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest is a three-year multidisciplinary endeavor to leverage the ingenuity of minds throughout the nation to reinvent the systems used to grow edible plants on the International Space Station and beyond. As NASA looks toward a long-term human presence beyond low Earth orbit, they face specific science, technology, engineering, and mathematics challenges related to space crop production. Through this contest, we aim to harness the creativity and talent within our local community and throughout a national network of makerspaces to address those challenges, which include (1) how to efficiently use three-dimensional plant growing space aboard spacecraft, (2) how to maintain plants without human intervention, and (3) how to design a fully automated robotic planting and harvesting system. Entries to the contest will be assessed and judged by NASA engineers and botanists, and winning proposals will be considered for implementation on future NASA missions. Take the challenge and help NASA's mission for long-distance space exploration with this critical component for sustaining life beyond Earth - growing edible plants.

Current Year 2: C.E.R.E.S.
(Computer-Enacted Regulation of Edible plant Systems)

Year 2 of this contest focuses on the second of these three challenges, the implementation of automatic systems into these compact growth chambers. Entrants to this year of the contest will be asked to use one of the submissions from last year, or create one of their own, as a basis for the addition of sensing equipment to monitor carbon dioxide, soil moisture levels, and temperature and to be able to adjust airflow, irrigation, and thermal control automatically over the course of the growing period. 

This year's challenge is far more computer and electronic focused than the previous, as we begin to add more and more autonomy to the designs in question. Eventually, these concepts and design ideas may make their way off the surface of the Earth, and populate the space craft of the future as NASA missions reach further into the solar system! If you're interested in participating in this year's contest, keep your eyes out for the official launch at the virtual Maker Faire Miami on August 15th, 2020!

Last Year 1: S.P.A.C.E.
(Spatial Planning for Agricultural Chambers beyond Earth)

Year 1 of this contest assessed the first of the three challenges, asking entrants to design a plant growth chamber for use in space that made effective and inventive use of the available volume on space craft (a cube 50cm on a side), while also incorporating the necessary features for plant growth (sufficient lighting, irrigation, and air circulation).

Over 100 teams from over 35 US states submitted entries to Phase I of this year. 15 winning submissions were selected from the 116 entries, which showcased a wide range of techniques and methods for growing plants, and were invited to test their designs' ability to grow 'Outredgeous' red romain lettuce, a favorite of NASA astronauts, during Phase II of the contest. 

If you're interested in checking out last year's entries, head to the Instructables contest page, and check out our webinars from the past year: 

Webinar 1Webinar 2Webinar 3Webinar 4

Important Dates

Aug 15, 2020Stay tuned for the official launch of Year 2 at Maker Faire Miami!

FAQ

Read our answers to our most commonly received queries about the contest 

Resources

For a brief contest overview, review our contest document

Follow us on Twitter @GrowBeyondEarth and share your progress with #SPACEgarden
Join the Nation of Makers Workspace to connect with us through our Slack channel

If you have additional questions, email us at jdewitt@fairchildgarden.org 


This website is based upon work supported by NASA under award No 80NSSC18K1225. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

 

With additional support from