Space Plants Project Could be Astronaut Game Changer

by Kelli Trifonovitch
University of Hawaii News

MANOA, Hawaii — The robotic arm glides past past stacked rows of herbs, lettuce and cabbages, bathed in artificial light. It is part of an autonomous hydroponic growing system called Box Farm that was designed and built by engineering students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. It may be an important tool for space crews someday, and the project won first place in the UH Mānoa College of Engineering Francis J. Rhodes Montgomery innovation competition in April.

“Itʻs an automated plant growing system,” said Preston Tran, a senior mechanical engineering student and team leader. “Itʻs able to seed, transfer and monitor your plants. To make sure that your plants are at the most optimal condition.”

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