Model description, concept test and redesign of a miniature growth chamber as preliminary concept for future space missions.

MSc-thesis abstract (submitted 29 August 2016): An experiment was conducted as part of the preparation and designing of a crop cultivation compartment for the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) in the International Space Station (ISS) that will allow plant research in different gravity conditions.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) Plants were grown in a basic testing unit (BTU) and were compared to two open systems consisting of a big root compartment and a small root compartment in a hydroponic, closed water culture system.

This MSc-thesis research was conducted as part of a sub-project of TimeScale: Plant-Water-Nutrient relationships for future space missions (TimeScale is a EU Horizon 2020 project -
The main aim of the experiment was to investigate and quantify the effect of the BTU aerial and root compartment on the plant growth and to provide the basis information for further research and development of a nutrient supply system for space research within the EMCS.

The results showed that a small root compartment had a restricting effect on plant growth and resulted in higher root/shoot ratio from day 20. The aerial compartment had a significant impact on plant growth.
Low light intensities, air flow and quality were the major inhibitory factors.

A more controlled air flow system is required to overcome the problems. For the root compartment more research is required to determine the factors that hinder the growth and to provide possible solutions.

Key Words: Plants in space ; Lactuca sativa ; Hydroponic water culture ; Root compartment volume ; plant growth ; European Modular Cultivation System - EMCS ; International Space Station -ISS ; TimeScale ; EU Horizon 2020