Research project

EDEN ISS - Ground Demonstration of Plant Cultivation Technologies and Operation in Space for Safe Food Production on board ISS and Future Human Space Exploration Vehicles and Planetary Outposts (DTA.AD004.014)

Thematic area

Earth system science and environmental technologies

Project area

Osservazione della Terra (DTA.AD004)

Structure responsible for the research project

Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems (IRET)

Other structures collaborating in the research project

Project manager

Phone number: 0763/374910


Humanity's plans to further explore space require the development of bio-regenerative life support systems and in particular plant cultivation. Plants contribute to all major life support functions by producing food and oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide and recycling water and waste. Moreover, fresh crops also have a positive impact on crew psychological well-being. EDEN ISS aims to adapt, integrate and demonstrate plant cultivation technologies and operations procedures for safe food production on-board the International Space Station and for future human space exploration missions. The consortium will demonstrate operational capability of controlled environment agriculture technologies and procedures for safe food production in space. A mobile test facility will be built to provide realistic interfaces analogous to ISS. A one-year
demonstration campaign at the Neumayer III Antarctic station will provide extensive testing and validation capability to increase the technology readiness level of key subsystems to 6. IBAF will be responsible of food quality aspects ISA of food safety aspects of vegetable produced.


1: Manufacturing a space analogue mobile test facility to provide representative mass flows and proper test environments for plant cultivation technologies as an essential on-ground preparatory activity for future space exploration.
2: Integration and test of key elements for plant cultivation in 1) an Inter-national Standard Payload Rack (ISPR) for future tests on-board ISS and 2) a Future Exploration Greenhouse (FEG) to prepare for closed-loop bio-regenerative life support systems.
3: Adaptation, integration, fine-tuning and demonstration of key technologies and their functionality in respective laboratory environments and (under highly isolated conditions) in an Antarctic environment.:
4: Development and demonstration of operation techniques and processes for higher plant cultivation to achieve reliable and safe production of high-quality food.
5: Study of microbial behaviour and countermeasures in plant-based closed ecosystems and their impacts on isolated crews.
6: Actively advancing knowledge related to human spaceflight and transformation of re-search results into terrestrial applications, by actively leveraging synergies between space and non-space consortium partners.

Start date of activity



Sistemi biorigenerativi, qualità alimentare, sicurezza alimentare

Last update: 02/12/2023