Research Projects

PACMAN

Plant Characterization Unit for closed life support system: engineering, manufacturing & testing

Sector

Space

Product/Objective

The goal of the project was to design a full Plant Characterization Unit (PCU) chamber with a completely sealed environment for the plants and roots. The designed plant control unit inherited the know-how from two previous projects, HySSE and AtSSE.

Project Summary

The objective of the Plant Characterization Unit was to allow scientists to fully characterize plant growth parameters, in order to measure these plant growth parameters, from the minerals of the nutrient solution to the spectral light of the LED system, in order to understand how plants could become an alternative life support system for astronauts in space, producing oxygen and water.

Innovation

The PACMAN unique facility was conceived as an environmentally controlled and leak-proof system for scientific studies on various crops. Among others, detailed studies on water transfer in-within-out the plant are enabled by allowing discrimination of aerial zone and root zone.

ES Role

EnginSoft has accumulated extensive experience in this area over the years and was, therefore, selected to participate in one of the MELiSSA consortium’s major challenges and to lead the development of the most advanced plant control unit in existence today. With ESA’s support, EnginSoft coordinated a team of experts from this vertical sector, such as Hosokawa for the watertight seal, CIRIS for the sensors and ODYS for the control system, to ensure the project was a success.

Partners

ENGINSOFT SPA, CIRIS, HOSOKAWA MICRON, ODYS, UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI NAPOLI FEDERICO II

Funding Scheme

Funding Scheme ESA | Call identifier Programme MELiSSA - Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative

PACMAN

Project web site

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Duration

24 months

Period

October 2018 - 2019

Coordinator

EnginSoft SpA

Reference in EnginSoft

Lorenzo Bucchieri

Partners Number

5

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