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Farms in Shipping Containers, and NASA Wants to Launch Them to Space

A NASA concept image with an indoor Mars farm that looks something like the inside of a Leafy Green Machine.

This Boston-based sustainable agriculture company grabbed NASA’s attention along with Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal.

By Alice Sweitzer
Popular Mechanics
Jul 7, 2017


If we built farms in space, they’d look nothing like the vast wheat fields of Kansas. But they just might look something like urban farms being used today—modular closed-loop hydroponic farms, actually. These compact, efficient grow houses could be the life-giving answer to keeping astronauts fed, a solution The Martian’s Mark Watney could only dream of. The idea is less science fiction than you might think, too.

Freight Farms, based in Boston, is trying to revolutionize the global food system with its Leafy Green Machines. These shipping containers filled with racks of planted crops, grow lights, and environmental control systems can be installed anywhere in the world and make fresh produce available in even the densest urban neighborhoods.

Although Freight Farms initial intentions were much more down to Earth, the company inadvertently built a prototype farm that NASA wants to study for future applications on other planets. And NASA isn’t the only one. Google and modern farming entrepreneurs including Kimbal Musk, brother to Martian hopeful Elon Musk, have also shown interest in the project.

Read the complete article here.