DEL MAR, CA — If astronauts are to undertake lengthy space missions, there has to be a way to keep them nourished without overloading their spacecraft with provisions. Scientists at the University of Arizona are tackling that problem, and their answer can be found at the 2012 San Diego County Fair, presented by Albertsons/Sav-On.
The "Lunar Greenhouse," located in The Infield, will provide a life support system for astronauts – and, at the same time, it can be adapted to feed earthlings! Dr. Merle Jensen, Professor Emeritus of the University of Arizona is one of America’s leading agricultural scientists on the subject of controlled environment agriculture. He is the founder of the University’s Controlled Environmental Agricultural Center, which developed the Lunar Greenhouse. Dr. Jensen will speak at the Lunar Greenhouse, at noon and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, on the topic of "Growing Food Out Of This World."
The object of the Lunar Greenhouse is to show that vegetables can be grown in space, and supply astronauts with oxygen and clean water. The greenhouse is able to grow green leafy vegetables and root crops like sweet potatoes, hydroponically – in water, without soil. The plants absorb carbon dioxide, which the astronauts breathe out. Oxygen and water vapor is released by the plants. Each plant in the Lunar Greenhouse can provide the water and oxygen for one astronaut every day. The Lunar Greenhouse can be adapted for "Earth" uses, too. This greenhouse can work in any climate on our planet, and food shortages could be eliminated. Green veggies at the North Pole? The Sahara? Our inner cities? It’s possible!
San Diego Ag Pals, led by Alex Kallas, is partnering with the Controlled Environmental Agricultural Center, and is providing educational programs for the Lunar Greenhouse on the Fairgrounds.
The summer of 2012 is taking San Diego County Fair fans "Out Of This World" to the stars, planets and beyond. Every day at the Fair is filled with discovery and mystery of the outer limits. The Fair will explore man's history and fascination with space and space travel starting with the ancient astronomers, to the NASA program and the future of space exploration.
The 2012 San Diego County Fair is open every day, now through Wednesday, July 4.
Gates open daily at 11 a.m. weekdays; and 10 a.m., Saturdays, Sundays, and July 4. Admission is $13 for adults; $7 for ages 6-12 and 62 and older; free for ages 5 and younger.
For more information about the fair go to the Fair website, www.sdfair.com. Facebook fans will find the Fair at www.facebook.com/sdfair. Twitter fans can get updates and special offers at twitter.com/sdfair and those on the go can use the Fairgrounds mobile phone website at m.sdfair.com.
The San Diego County Fair is the largest annual event in San Diego County and the sixth largest fair in the United States, drawing more than 1.4 million visitors annually. The 2011 Fair broke an all-time attendance record for the third year in a row with a grand total of 1,412,113 guests.
The 22nd District Agricultural Association is a State of California agency that owns and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Surfside Race Place, Horsepark Equestrian Center and the Del Mar Golf Center. The 22nd DAA produces five events each year: The San Diego County Fair, the Del Mar National Horse Show, Professional Bull Riding (PBR), The Scream Zone and Holiday of Lights. The Fairgrounds hosts more than 350 events annually, the largest of which is the live horse racing meet each summer, which is operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the 22nd DAA and the State of California. For more information on the Fairgrounds, visit www.delmarfairgrounds.com.