Aeroponics tests the capacity of efficient artificial farming. It takes the benefits of hydroponics and improves upon them without sacrificing self-sustainability. Unlike hydroponics, aeroponics works by spraying the root structure with fine mist instead of running water across the roots. Because aeroponics exists in a closed environment, disease and pestilence are small concerns; as well as growing seasons and weather. It can produces faster and more efficiently than hydroponics.
Possibilities for aeroponics usage is growing in popularity. Current industrial development strives to create cheap and clean foods that are locally accessible. NASA regularly conducts research into aeroponics to understand plant growth in outer space. Some pharmaceuticals maintain farms to create medicines. It holds application as a research tool for GMO's and root studies. Aeroponics has great potential for the future of small scale farming.
The Fall 2016 semester we restarted the project under new leadership. The team decided to aim for an aeroponics rather than hydroponic system. We spent a good portion of the semester researching the basics of gardening and aeroponics as well as how aeroponics differs from traditional methods.
We worked through and came up with a plan for a relatively simple nutrient flow system. A nutrient flow system is a technique of growing plants without soil by having a constant gentle flow of nutrient rich water flow past the roots of the plant. This technique requires water to be pumped from a reservoir throw a channel containing the plant roots. We are hoping will talk more with Dr. Jensen before the spring semester gets underway to see about working in the lab space in Jarvis.
The current plan is to start assembling and testing our design at the beginning of the spring semester. By the middle of spring semester we’re hoping to have the system ready to begin growing plants. Ideally, our goal is to improve the design over the semester and have a base for the project to continue to grow in the future.