Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module Honored for Promoting Youth Leadership, Future Workforce

Visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry this year have been able to view the Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module, a device that one day could help make a colony on the Moon possible. (Photo by J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry)
Visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry this year have been able to view the Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module, a device that one day could help make a colony on the Moon possible. (Photo by J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry)

It’s been a busy year for UA’s Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module.

After spending seven months on the road – with a stop at the San Diego County Fair in June and an installation at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, beginning in July – the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center’s Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module will return to Tucson in January 2013. The traveling educational program was recognized this fall with an Excellence in Economic Development Award.

Issued annually by the Arizona Commerce Authority, these awards honor partnerships, organizations, associations and companies that have successfully created and implemented exceptional economic development strategies for their respective communities, whether metro, rural or tribal.

“Tonight’s award recipients are being recognized for the outstanding innovations and achievements that have helped place Arizona at the forefront of economic development,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “I am thrilled to help celebrate the remarkable perseverance and success of these communities in the midst of challenging economic times.”

Governor Brewer announced this year’s award recipients at the Governor's Economic Development Conference Gala Dinner on September 13. Honorees included:

Lake Havasu City
Establishment of ASU Colleges Lake Havasu City, a four-year, fully staffed university which opened its doors to students in August;

The City of Cottonwood
Five-year economic development strategy with an emphasis on the wine industry doubled employment in Old Town with a projected economic impact of $10 million by 2013;

Project Ignite (Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), Flagstaff and Coconino County)
Expands the reach of NACET (small business incubator in Northern Arizona) by capturing additional resources, partners and connections. Results include more than 200 high-wage jobs projected, with client companies reporting revenues of $6 million;

The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center’s Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module
Reaches K-12 STEM students across Arizona, students at the University of Arizona and graduate students, with support from NASA, demonstrating that vegetables can be grown in space and can be incorporated into the diet of astronauts working on long-term missions.

“These awards recognize incredible collaborative efforts taking place in communities across the state of Arizona, efforts that are driving innovation, expanding opportunity and improving our economy,” said Sandra Watson, interim president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “The impact of these regional economic development initiatives and pioneering projects is seen across the state, and we’re thrilled to honor such incredible success.”

The Lunar Greenhouse Outreach and Teaching Module is a mobile replica of the Lunar Greenhouse Lab, housed at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.

The module is a prototype of a self-contained, automated environment which has the potential to provide water, oxygen and one-half of the daily amount of food needed for one astronaut to survive. Approximately 18-by-7 feet, the cylindrical Lunar Greenhouse is full of plant life that grows using hydroponics (in nutrient-rich water, without soil) giving visitors the opportunity to visualize first-hand how humans might be able to grow food on the Moon.

An exhibit of the module at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, is scheduled to conclude on January 27, 2013.

Next stop: Tucson.

Date released: 
Nov 30 2012
Contact: 
Gene Giacomelli