V-GELM is a hi-tech vegetable garden designed by the ENEA research team to grow micro-greens on the Moon and in extreme environments such as at the North and South Poles. It is set up inside a special igloo greenhouse designed to withstand very low temperatures as well as space missions.
V-GELM (Virtual Greenhouse Experimental Lunar Module) is an experimental project that ran from 10th to 19th July in the Casaccia Research Centre with the aim of developing a lunar cultivation module combining innovative hydroponic cultivation techniques with virtual experiments to support astronauts’ lives in future long-term missions. The project was carried out by a team of ENEA researchers and students from the Interdepartmental Centre for Building Restoration Environment (CITERA) and the Sapienza University of Rome and Tuscia and was live streamed.
The innovative ENEA vegetable garden contains hydroponic cultivation of two particular varieties of radish, Daikon and Rioja, inside a tent called EGG due to its shape. The module was developed by ENEA as part of the Hortspace project, funded by the Space Agency Italiana (ASI). It consists of a 1 m3 closed-loop multilevel hydroponic cultivation system with LED lighting where different species of micro-green vegetables are grown, specially selected to reach the ideal growth stage for consumption within 10-15 days.