Green wall for improving the psychological wellbeing of astronauts.
As part of the Human Research Program (HRP), NASA has identified and is actively addressing issues related to the long-term habitation of astronauts in space. We set out to solve the problem of the inhospitable environment of the stations and its impact on the psychological well-being of astronauts.
Although today, stays in space are tolerable, as astronauts have plenty of sleep, better food, a reasonable amount of work, the opportunity to engage in recreational activities and constant contact with the ground, this will change for long-term journeys to greater distances from our planet. And that’s why we decided to come up with an alternative that would make being in space at least a little more enjoyable.
According to several studies, greenery generally improves people’s mood, relieves stress and has an overall positive effect on humans. These effects appear after just a few minutes. And that’s why we present HEXAWALL – a wall pot that can be combined in any number of ways to create green walls. Its task is to bring greenery to space stations. We consulted the project with an architect and thanks to the advice of an expert, the pot has a hexagonal shape for its compactness and combinability.
We produced a working prototype. The structure is made of plexiglass on a laser cutter to make the planter light and strong. The substrate is made of clay and expanded clay. A special fabric separates the substrate from the open space of the station, which prevents water and clay particles from escaping the pot to prevent damage to the station.
Underneath the fabric, directly embedded in the clay substrate, are droplet tubes. These transport water mixed with liquid fertiliser directly to the roots of the plants. The pot is ideal for growing plants such as strawberries, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, radishes and cabbage, whose ability to grow in space has already been tested many times.