Thayer Team Makes NASA Mars Greenhouse Design Finals

News subtitle

Dartmouth engineering students create an extra-terrestrial food production system.


Read the full story, published by Thayer School of Engineering.

Eight Dartmouth engineering students make up one of five university-team finalists selected by NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) for their Marsboreal greenhouse design. The students entered their capstone design project in NASA’s 2019 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge to develop a reliable and effective food production system on Mars.

Named “DEMETER“ (Deployable Enclosed Martian Environment for Technology, Eating, and Recreation)—in honor of the Greek Goddess of harvest, fertility, and agriculture—the team’s concept incorporates ice shielding and the toroidal architecture from the Mars Ice Home design and will provide sufficient nutritious food for a four-person astronaut crew on a surface mission to Mars.

Each of the five finalists received a monetary award to compete at the 2019 BIG Idea Forum at the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, VA in April. Students will also have the opportunity to compete for one of the five NASA summer internship slots set aside for BIG Idea participants.

“We’re so excited to continue on with this project and go to the forum,” said team member Zoe Rivas.

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