The Green Wheel: Space Gardening on Earth
Modern gardening technologies have sparked many innovations that scientists believe would be critical to ensure the world’s future food supply. Aeroponics and hydroponics for example, can be integrated with vertical farming techniques. This can save available land space, and introduce crop growth in urban areas instead of shaving off forests for agricultural purposes.
But this new gardening concept is not taken a “grounded” concept, but is instead suspended in the realm of outer space. The NASA-inspired Green Wheel may not be the next big thing in urban gardening, but the concept does have a few green points that we’d like to peek at further.
In the 1980′s NASA was researching for a way to provide future astronauts with a self-replenishing food supply, and a crop garden was the most practical answer that they have come up with. However the weightless environment of outer space made traditional gardening impractical. Their ultimate solution was to apply the “artificial gravity” inducing effects of a rotating body to the garden, and thus the hydroponic wheel was designed.
But even though the idea was quite innovative, it was never actually used for future space missions. Thankfully, a company named DesignLibero picked the idea up, and tailored it to become more practical on a terrestrial setting with natural gravity. They named their version of the hydroponic wheel as the “Green Wheel”. Since the basic design was still from a few 20th century decades back, its outer frame undertook major redesigning. It now looks a lot more futuristic compared to its early incarnations.
The basic component of the Green Wheel is of course the perforated wheel. This is where the desired crop or plant is placed. It rotates constantly using a small engine, and a water pump pushes water inside its outer walls as it turns. It receives “sunlight” via an LED lamp that is placed at the center of the wheel. Controls are placed conveniently on the unit, but it is designed to be also capable of receiving remote instructions from your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to adjust water levels, illumination and rotation speed even when you are far from the unit.
Though the artificial gravity concept of its wheel frame is now naught, it still serves an important purpose of saving available land space. Unbelievable as it may seem, but the Green Wheel can actually hold about 8 feet worth of plants or crops (if lined straight up). The relatively thin profile of the wheel design also makes it ideal to be placed on areas where it is typically not practical to place plant pots or other gardening units.
Of course, the overall practicality of the Green Wheel might still be downplayed depending on the user’s current location. If you are in an area where flat land and good soil is available, then it might just look like another tech gardening gimmick. But for those who don’t have the planting space, the Green Wheel might serve as your futuristic space-saving flower pot or tomato garden.
After a quick email to Design Libero, they told me their standard model costs around €500. I also asked them how many watts it takes to run the Green Wheel using a standard electrical outlet, they told me it runs at 200 Watts when the light is on and 50 Watts at night to keep the motor running.
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.