Sustainable Space Technologies

Genesis1:11™

Bence Mátyás1

1Genesis Sustainable Future Ltd., Hungary

*Correspondence:  bmatyas@edu.damaresearch.com, author’s contact information was updated at 3 October, 2020

ABSTRACT:

Genesis1:11™ is a distant places plantation and forestation-supporting high-technology concept including but not limited to semi-capsuled ecosystems and various physical and precision software tools making it possible to inject microorganisms and to grow plant roots into extraterrestrial soils contributing to a sustainable future for the humankind in remote places (especially terraforming Mars) having extreme climatic and environmental conditions. In this paper main characteristics and utilization areas of Genesis1:11™ Rocket Capsule and technical specifications of Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot are being discussed without claiming completeness, including a demonstration how a complex organism like a plant might provide a useful and simple host for large number of microbes.

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Cite as: Mátyás, B. “Genesis1:11” DRC Sustainable Future 2020. 1(2): 86-93. DOI: 10.37281/DRCSF/Genesis1:11

1. Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot 

Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pots were designed to cause up and down directional root growth, being able by this to spread out the main roots on both sides. Our aim is to increase the chance for plants to be successfully adapted, when training them to grow into extraterrestrial soils. 

Figure 1. Exploded view of a Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot. (A) Cover slows down soil evaporation and in the meanwhile provides ventilation for topsoil; (B) innermost layer punched in the upper third of its area; (C) second layer punched on the downer third part; (D) third layer punched in the upper third of its area; (E) outermost layer is continuous, without perforations. 

Plants should be placed into or seeded in the innermost layer (Figure 1/B), one plant per pot being recommended; pot should be filled with control soil only (having optimal nutrient supply capacity). Hole punching should be done at the top third part of the innermost layer (Figures 2 and 3). With this, roots first need touch the bottom, then grow up, making sure that the plant takes up all essential nutrients before it would grow into the next space. At the second layer (B), holes are made at the bottom third part of its total area. Size of holes is determined mainly by the needs of the test plants, and their root characteristics. In present, 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7 cm diameter holes are being tested in our pot experiments, appropriate for primarily tomato and other low-growing crops, involved in our research. 

Figure 2. Cross sectional illustration of a Genesis Rooting Pot

In the space between the innermost (B) and second layers (C), one should put soil mix with preferred ratio. Second and third spaces between outer layers (C-D and D-E) mutatis mutandis are filled with an increasing proportion of soil mix, as disclosed in the section on experimental  requirements. 

Figure 3.  Layers and hole punching 

The outermost space (between D and E leyers) only the simultaneous soil takes place. Distance between each layer is 1 cm (Figure 2). It is recommended not to compact the soil excessively, when filling the spaces between layers.  

Figure 4. Plan view of a Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot.

Soil physical properties (compaction) should be approximately the same as of the innermost layer. Ventilation is ensured for each space between layers, as can be observed on the plan view of the rooting pot (Figure 4). At the bottom of the pot (Figure 1/E) holes are made between each layer to eliminate the inconvenience of overwatering. 

Recommendations: 

  1. Pot material should not contain metals considering that very rapid oxidation/corrosion may occur on remote planets (particularly on Mars); therefore, metals may interfere with simulations. 
  2. Sensors can be installed between layers on demand. Alternatively, location of holes makes it possible to conduct occasional measurements between layers; if so, one should pay attention not to hurt roots while placing them in the device; use of protecting tubes is highly recommended. 
  3. Further, we recommend to wash out all soil with plenty of water prior to removing plant roots from the pot. Although the weight of the root can be determined even in the event of fracture, it is essential for root length measurements to keep the root intact. 

 

Figure 5. Top cover (top) and bottom part (bottom) of a Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot. Hole punching locations make it possible to ventilate topsoil, while extra water can runoff from each space between layers avoiding unfavorable (e.g., anaerobic) conditions for soil microbes and roots.

2. Genesis1:11™ Rocket Capsule

Genesis1:11™ Rocket Capsules are semi-closed multi-layered systems in which plants and some other eukaryotes can be transported to remote planets. They can be dropped from the spacecraft and they survive in the atmosphere of the remote planet, and even develop under extreme climatic and environmental conditions.

The rationality of this concept study is to outline the technical requirement of a transport equipment, which contains highly evolved organisms, like plants. Using a plant as a host organism and also one compartment that supports maintaining micro-scale environmental conditions for various microbes is beneficial, as it may enable the survival of transported microbes over a longer time period as compared to using only bacterial and achea cells, without a larger macroscopic organism. Penetrators are planned: a) to be loaded into spacecrafts (Starship recommended considering the significant payload capacity of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket) on Earth (SpaceX, 2020); b) being transported to of  atmosphere remote places; current travel time to Mars is approx. 0.75 year  (Mátyás et al. 2018; NASA 2020); when planet Earth and Mars are the closest, the distance between them is 5.5 x 107 km (Crane, 2019); c) they can be dropped there from Starship; d) and they fall down, while spinning, owing to stabilizer fins installed to drill bit (Figure 6, bottom). Considering the presently known average thickness of ice-sheet on surface of Mars, 1.3 and 1.8 m long, and 43 and 55 cm tubes are being tested in Genesis1:11™ Rocket Capsule prototypes (Figure 6). Medusa is the energy and light supplying unit of the rocket capsule (Figure 6. Upper). It is removable, and accessible for rovers to periodic replacements on demand. Fins are adjustable even during down fall, supporting rocket stability. After impact, fins turn and take optimal angle to collect solar energy and charge Medusa. Tubes are multilayered (Figure 6 Middle), having vacuum between their layers, ensuring thermal insulation. UV LED rings are installed between the layers, in accordance with plant needs and characteristics, e.g., a greater number of UV LED rings are recommended for evergreen species, and they should be placed at the lower part of the tube. This needed because the significant shadowing caused by the rapidly growing needle foliage. Drill bit (Figure 6. Bottom) is also multilayered, and the number and connections of its layers are synchronized with the tube layers. For hole punching, Genesis1:11™ Rooting Pot protocol is being applied; briefly, plant is seeded and/or planted into the innermost layer and filled exclusively with Earth-based control soil (that has optimal nutrient supply capacity). Hole punching in this case is also done at the top third part of the innermost layer, inducing roots first to reach bottom, and then grow up, making sure that plants take up all essential micro and macro-nutrients prior to growing into the next layer. At the innermost layer, soil microbiological activity is the most significant, relative to other layers, as it is the warmest space inside the penetrator. In the following spaces between drill bit layers, ratio of Mars soil simulant is being consistently increased with respect to the initial control soil that was loaded into the innermost layer. Holes on layers are filled with a flexible inorganic polymer composition that allows roots to grow seamlessly between layers, while maintaining inside pressure of the capsule. Buffering capacity and thermal insulation capacity of soil highly depend on the composition of soil particles; with greater clay fraction present, a better insulation can be reached between layers. Continuous monitoring of microbial composition and activity inside and outside the capsule is essential, considering that these microbes are exiting from the system through root growing, and get into direct contact with the extraterrestrial environment. For organic molecules detection inside and outside the capsule we recommend using Microchip Electrophoresis (ME) based instruments, given that they comply with the minimal mass/power/volume requirements (Mátyás et al. 2018). To support selection of ME instruments for detecting organic compounds, we use Science Payload 2.0 (updated version) software. Test results are being discussed in forthcoming papers.

References

Crane, L. (2019). Destination: Mars. New Scientist, 242(3234), 38–43. doi:10.1016/s0262-4079(19)31087-5 

Mátyás, B.; Bautista, G.; Szarka, M.; Serrano, V.; Morales Arteaga J.; Loja D.; Yaguana, S.G.; Gómez, F. and RamírezCando, L.J. (2018). “Decision support algorithm for the selection of analytical methods in organic compounds detection for future extraterrestrial exploratory missions” ELECTROPHORESIS, 39: 2884-2889. doi:10.1002/elps.201800215

NASA (2020) (Retrieved on: 4 September, 2020) http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl

SciencePayload (2020) (Retrieved on: 17 July, 2020) https://damaresearch.com/sciencepayload/

SpaceX (2020) (Retrieved on: 4 September, 2020) https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/

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