Hello, space enthusiasts! We’re excited to share some fantastic news from the recent 2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems, which took place July 16-20th in beautiful Calgary, Canada! Our very own space ecologist Patrick Grubbs represented The Spring Institute for Forests on the Moon and presented our first two published papers and contributed to a third one, all of which were received with great interest!
The first paper was primarily authored by Daniella Ngarambe and titled “A Constellation of Dreamers: Advancing Space Exploration through Democratization.” It discussed the importance of making space exploration accessible to all, regardless of nationality or discipline. The paper highlighted the initiatives of The Spring Institute in creating opportunities for engagement for individuals from diverse backgrounds and how we are working to include underrepresented countries in the New Space Race while avoiding pitfalls like brain drain.
Head over to our Outreach page to see more details about how we are working towards this goal!
The second paper, “SCAMPI Project: Design of an Aquatic Closed Ecological System for Microgravity” is a description of our in-progress mission to send a shrimp aquarium to the ISS as part of the PETRI programme by the European Space Agency. The SCAMPI Project aims to study and characterize the impact of long exposure to the space environment on a multitrophic self-sustaining closed ecosystem, an ecosphere. This research is crucial for understanding the independent subsystems of biological experiments in microgravity. The SCAMPI project is a significant step towards building closed-loop, bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS).
Want more details? Check out our SCAMPI Project page!
The third paper, “1st International Space Ecology Workshop – Research Needs & Roadmap to the Future” was a summary of the proceedings of the Space Ecology Workshop held in October 2022. This annual virtual conference was first organized by Patrick Grubbs and Christine Escobar, among others. The workshop aimed to promote and organize closed ecological systems (CES) research internationally. It brought together engineers, space biologists, and ecologists to discuss the past, present, and future of CES that could enable indefinite, sustainable human exploration of space, as well as sustainable living on Earth.
Click here to sign up for the next iteration of this conference – it’s virtual and free!
While at the conference, Patrick had the opportunity to learn about the state-of-the-art life support systems and network with industry, government, and academia stakeholders. These interactions are crucial for building support for bioregenerative life support solutions, a key step on the road towards self-sustaining closed ecological life support systems.
Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey to make space exploration more accessible and sustainable!