Humanitys plans to further explore space require the development of bio-regenerative life support systems and in particular plant cultivation. Plants contribute to all major life support functions by producing food and oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide and recycling water and waste. Moreover, fresh crops also have a positive impact on crew psychological well-being.

The project EDEN ISS aims to adapt, integrate and demonstrate plant cultivation technologies and operations procedures for safe food production on-board the International Space Station and for future human space exploration missions.

The consortium will demonstrate operational capability of controlled environment agriculture technologies and procedures for safe food production in space. A mobile test facility will be built to provide realistic interfaces analogous to ISS. A one-year demonstration campaign at the Neumayer III Antarctic station will provide extensive testing and validation capability to increase the technology readiness level of key subsystems to 6. The interdisciplinary nature of EDEN ISS combines research in space engineering, horticulture, food science and microbiology. Leading space industries (Thales Alenia Space Italia, Airbus Defense and Space, Telespazio), research organizations (DLR, CNR, AWI), SMEs (Liquifer, Heliospectra, EnginSoft, Aero Sekur) and academia (Wageningen UR, University of Guelph, Limerick Institute of Technology) from six European countries (Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands) and Canada join forces in a unique consortium to prepare the ground for further innovative research and development in human spaceflight and terrestrial applications.

A plant production system for space exploration of TRL 6 will be tested and fine-tuned. The resource requirement for plant production and the effect on astronauts well-being will be quantified. Further developing these technologies and operations procedures, including food quality and safety measurements, will also contribute to Europes interest in resource efficient crop cultivation, saving energy, countering the climate change and securing the supply of healthy and safe food.