Tag Archives: Rockets

Growing Veggies on Mars

NASA intends to put the first man on Mars in the 2030’s. But once he’s there, what will he have for lunch?

Perhaps veggies grown in a BioPod.

This incredible new device from startup Interstellar Lab could finally allow us to cultivate crops in space. It could also revolutionize agriculture here on Earth.

The BioPod is an inflatable dome about 20 feet wide, 33 feet long, and 15 feet tall. It uses aeroponics, precision nutrient delivery, and careful climate control to produce the ideal growing environment for plants.

This means it can grow high value crops like flowers and microgreens. It can even grow plants that can’t be grown with traditional agriculture, like vanilla.

It’s also remarkably efficient, reducing water consumption by 98% while boosting yields up to 300-fold.

The BioPod is designed not just to feed humans in space, but on an increasingly unpredictable Earth. From a recent interview:

“Climate change is a real emergency for Earth, and we only have a small window to bring about positive change. We are developing a new framework for sustainable living on Earth and a testbed for future space missions,” Barbara Belvisi, Founder and CEO, Interstellar Lab said.

The BioPod is currently in production. You can even pre-order one now!

But at $250,000 each plus a monthly subscription fee, it’s a bit out of reach for most gardeners. Oh, and shipping’s not included.

However, if the BioPod can reduce inputs and boost yields as radically as Interstellar claims, I could see rapid adoption in the agriculture industry.

Already, companies like Bowery Farming are taking agriculture from farms to urban warehouses using hydroponics. They seem like a natural customer for Interstellar Lab, and I’m sure there are many more.

Long term, perhaps the BioPod will be deployed on Mars to support astronauts brought there by a SpaceX Starship. It’s a beautiful future I look forward to.

In the mean time, I’m itching to try a BioPod salad! 🙂

What do you think of the BioPod? Would you try its food?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

Have a great day everyone! 👋

More on tech:

Coffeebots and the Search for the Perfect Cup

Robot Pizzas and the Future of Fast Food

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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This Hoboken-Based Rocket Company Could Revolutionize Space

In the shadow of New York City, I walked down a quiet street beneath an overpass. I came across a squat brick building with no windows. On the door, a small sign was the only indication of what’s inside: Hudson Space Systems.

Founded by graduates of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hudson Space Systems (HSS) is working to make cheap, reusable rockets available to everyone. The microgravity (weightlessness) that being high above the earth provides is critical to research in medicine, physics and materials science. Cell cultures grow faster, physics experiments are simplified, and materials are tested like nowhere else.

But this invaluable scientific platform has a problem: waiting lists for launches are long and costs are high. HSS’s 3D printed, resuable rocket aims to bring the cost down by 40% and increase capacity until booking space on a rocket launch is as easy as booking a dinner reservation on OpenTable.

SpaceX proved rockets can be reused. What SpaceX did for launching satellites, HSS hopes to do for launching science experiments.

Hoboken, New Jersey, with its density and proximity to New York City, might seem like the last place where you’d find a rocket company. But it’s one of the most educated cities in the country, with over 80% of the population holding bachelor’s degrees or higher, and has a technical university right in town. Tech companies often grow out of universities, as this one did.

Will HSS be able to realize its vision? That’s anyone’s guess, but they have already raised $100,000 in 2020 and are $162,000 into a $250,000 raise that closes in a few days. Since they are currently working on protypes and don’t yet have a product in market, this company is earlier on than the startups I invest in. But if you like getting in on the ground floor, and especially if you have expertise in this area, it could be a great opportunity.

Best of luck to these hardworking men and women on their exciting new business right here in the Garden State!

More on startups:

Photo: “Antares Rocket Launch (NHQ201610170114)” by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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