Under the coor­di­na­ti­on of the Swiss Space Cen­ter, IGLUNA enables stu­dents from all over the world to col­la­bo­ra­tively deve­lop inno­va­ti­ve tech­no­lo­gies over the cour­se of a year that can also be used far away from our pla­net. A stu­dent team from EPFL Lau­sanne is also taking part in the ESA demons­tra­ti­on pro­ject. The team is deve­lo­ping a ful­ly auto­no­mous aero­po­nics sys­tem com­bi­ned with a pro­fes­sio­nal light­ing solu­ti­on from SAN­light Solu­ti­on
for gro­wing vege­ta­bles in extre­me envi­ron­ments. Like on the moon, for example.

Jen­ners­dorf, Febru­ary 4, 2021 — The call at the end of last year to par­ti­ci­pa­te in ESA’s Open Space Inno­va­ti­on Plat­form (OSIP) with ide­as for the lunar mis­si­on was met with gre­at inte­rest by the EPFL stu­dent team. The Swiss team is taking part in the inter­na­tio­nal com­pe­ti­ti­on with their “Grow­bo­th­hub” pro­ject. In a first imple­men­ta­ti­on, the “Grow­bo­t­Hub pro­ject” took part in an inter­na­tio­nal stu­dent pro­ject to build a habi­tat demons­tra­tor for sus­tai­ning life in an extre­me envi­ron­ment such as the moon. The pro­ject to be desi­gned and imple­men­ted aims at a ful­ly auto­ma­ted sys­tem for gro­wing and har­ve­s­t­ing vege­ta­bles in extre­me envi­ron­ments. The team’s main focus is to design a sys­tem that mini­mi­zes the resour­ces requi­red and can auto­no­mously car­ry out all the neces­sa­ry steps from plan­ting to pol­li­na­ti­on and cultivation to har­ve­s­t­ing wit­hout human intervention.

A par­ti­cu­lar chall­enge in the con­cep­ti­on and con­s­truc­tion is, on the one hand, the deve­lo­p­ment of the mul­ti­func­tion­al robot, which must relia­bly com­ple­te the indi­vi­du­al steps and work pre­cis­e­ly with the mul­ti-sto­ry shel­ving sys­tem. The vege­ta­bles are grown in boxes under the light­ing solu­ti­on from SAN­light Solu­ti­on and trans­por­ted via a rail sys­tem to the robot arm to car­ry out various tasks.

Each of the 16 boxes in the pro­to­ty­pe is equip­ped with three to four lights from the FLEX-PRO series from SANSOL. The EPFL stu­dent team cho­se this light­ing solu­ti­on for the fol­lo­wing reasons:

• High work­man­ship qua­li­ty.
• Varie­ty of vari­ants enab­led pre­cise instal­la­ti­on wit­hout com­plex adjus­t­ments.
• Sun­light-like spec­trum gua­ran­tees healt­hy and pro­duc­ti­ve growth of the most com­mon
vege­ta­bles.
• Easy to hand­le and Instal­la­ti­on.
• Low main­ten­an­ce effort.
• Bridging days and nights with litt­le sun.

The clo­se coope­ra­ti­on with the deve­lo­p­ment depart­ment at SANSOL has the fol­lo­wing advantages:

• Com­pe­tent advice and solu­ti­on-ori­en­ted approach
• Tech­ni­cal sup­port for the best expo­sure solu­ti­on in this appli­ca­ti­on
• Opti­mum inte­gra­ti­on of the expo­sure solu­ti­on into the auto­no­mous con­trol unit.

We wish the stu­dent team much suc­cess in rea­li­zing the “Grow­bo­t­Hub” pro­ject and
a con­vin­cing pre­sen­ta­ti­on to the top-class ESA jury.