A nonprofit organization is raising funds to help rebuild an entire greenhouse that recently caught fire.
Following the fire incident that destroyed the greenhouse at a facility in rural Utah in December 2014, the Mars Society launched a crowdfunding campaign through the Indiegogo website to gather funds that will aid in restoring the greenhouse.
The campaign was launched on July 30 and aims to collect $10,000 for the rebuilding project. The initiative has so far raised close to $4,000 and has 27 days to go.
After an electric heater accident at a mock Mars mission, fire burned down the GreenHab at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) late last year. Damage was limited, thanks to the crewmembers who fought the fire, but the GreenHab was seen as unfit for use since the fire.
For several months, the GreenHab team had been clearing the site and designing a new greenhouse to replace the old structure. The Mars Society, which aims to conduct further studies and send more explorations to Earth's neighboring Red Planet, said it wants to purchase necessary components such as lights, sensors, fans and environmental controls with the $10,000 that it hopes to make.
The MDRS is also looking forward to building new planters to study dirt and regolith and installing a hydroponics system that can be converted into aquaponics.
The new GreenHab will have a dome around 25 feet in diameter. The area where it is set up is close to where the old structure used to be.
If the fundraising does not reach its $10,000 goal, the MDRS will still continue to build a greenhouse but only a temporary tent-like one to host some experiments.
"All the things for plants—for food growth and planet-science studies—we are doing the fundraising campaign for support purchasing that equipment," said MDRS GreenHab coordinator Nick Orenstein. According to reports, Orenstein was also commander of the crew who fought the fire in December.
Last week, the GreenHab team visited the site to clear the area of what was left of the old structure. The next time the team visits the site, it will proceed with pouring concrete slabs for the dome.
If the crowdfunding campaign reaches its $10,000 goal in time, the structure, along with its components, will be completed in September.