The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Plants for Space (P4S) research center and Vertical Future will cooperate.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Plants for Space (P4S) research center has teamed with Vertical Future for an R&D program.
The P4S research center, which aims to give future space explorers access to wholesome foods, on-demand supplies of materials, and medications, is headed by the University of Adelaide. 15 academic institutions, 5 space agencies, 5 enablers, 6 education providers, 7 government and technology suppliers, and 5 controlled environment agriculture (CEA) businesses, including Vertical Future, are working together on this significant worldwide project.
With the aim of pursuing a long-term human presence in space, the Australian government has given the P4S research center AUD 35 million in financing, coupled with additional assistance from the 38 P4S partners, totaling around AUD90 million. P4S is supporting NASA’s Artemis Agreements, a project to explore space with the goal of creating the technology needed for people to visit Mars and return to Earth in the 2040s.
Water spinach is a well-known Asian green, and Vertical Future will offer its expertise in the growth and development of properties related to it. Although the fast-growing plant has a high nutritional value, it can reach heights of over 3 meters, making it too big for most vertical farms.
Through the examination of environmental factors, growth regulator treatments, and conventional genetics, the project seeks to lower the size of water spinach and precisely manage its nutritional properties. In addition, the initiative will employ gene editing technologies to try to reduce the water spinach plant’s lifetime so that seeds may be produced more quickly.
The lessons learned from this research will help to address the issues that the vertical farming industry is presently dealing with, such as speeding up the growth of some crops and making vertical farming more accessible to everyone. The introduction of more effective agricultural practices on Earth and abroad will be aided by the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to automate systems in vertical farming.
The P4S initiative will also contribute to increasing the economy of the UK and the rest of the world by fostering high-value professions in agriculture, engineering, and technology as well as local food production.
“Vertical Future is thrilled to collaborate and offer our knowledge to the Centre of Excellence’s Plants for the Space research center,” stated Jamie Burrows, CEO, and founder of Vertical Future. “In addition to boosting Vertical Future’s efforts in our R&D program and addressing the issues posed by the vertical farming sector and the economy at large, we are excited to see our vertical farming technology playing such a significant role in NASA’s Artemis Project. Even though this initiative is primarily focused on space exploration, many of the lessons learned from it will be useful on Earth and contribute to global food security and nutrition. Research and Innovation are at the heart of our mission at Vertical Future and we look forward to working with partners on this project to drive agriculture forward.”
“The mission of P4S is to re-imagine plant design and bioresource production, through the lens of space, to enable off-Earth habitation and provide transformative solutions to improve on-Earth sustainability,” said Matthew Gilliham, professor at the University of Adelaide and director of the new Center of Excellence. “The adaptable, plant-based solutions required to maintain human physical and psychological wellbeing during deep space flight and settlement will be developed as a result of P4S research. The work done by Center specialists will also result in a significant improvement in processing, production, and plant efficiency here on Earth.”
Image provided by Alex Andrews
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