Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse Update, September 29, 2004
In early August everyone left our base camp on Devon Island in the high Arctic. However the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse has been running autonomously since then. In early September we began experiencing technical difficulties with our communications link to the greenhouse. For several weeks a team of dedicated engineers worked the problem. After many long hours, communication with the greenhouse was restored.
And although communication was lost, the greenhouse systems continued to operate and the greenhouse team is collecting useful data. We have also been collecting webcam images which visually monitor the greenhouse and the surrounding environment. Next week we should be able to start posting these daily images for the public to see. Other data from the greenhouse will be made available through peer reviewed publications when ready.
The greenhouse has three webcams working to visually monitor it. Two are within the greenhouse and one outdoors. The two indoor cameras are codenamed "fallcam" and "springcam". Fallcam observes a set of growth trays that had lettuce growing in them this fall. These plants were meant to grow for just over a month after we left, then die. Then in the spring a new set of plants are scheduled to grow with the springcam webcam to monitor them. The links below show three recent images from the three webcams.
You will notice that the outdoor webcam image includes the recorded temperature, humidity level and pressure. These readings will show up on this camera from time to time. Since each webcam is timed to turn on and off for a short period of time to conserve power, the sensor data does not always have time to turn on. This data is not considered critical and is not part of the required dataset we collect.
The greenhouse and webcams are powered by stored energy from batteries which are recharged by our solar arrays and wind generators.
Recent webcam images