Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, 1996

Food Production

To design and build a model of a food production and delivery system for a human settlement on the Moon.

Key Words

food groups





food groups chart

"Moon ABCs Fact Sheet"

construction materials
such as cardboard boxes
and tubes, blocks, hoses,
straws, string, pins, rubber
bands, tape, etc.


Review the basic food groups. What are examples of food in each group. What basic jobs for the body does each group perform? Make a chart on a separate paper with your answers.

With your class, make a list of the foods and liquids everyone consumed in the past 24 hours. Organize your list in the following way: Put each food group in a different column; then cross out all the items you consider "junk food" and cross out each item made from an animal which must eat another animal to live.

We know that, with the exception of carnivores, animals eat plants. But what do green plants "eat" in addition to carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water? Include in your answer a discussion of the nitrogen cycle.

It is likely that space in the Moonbase will be limited. Protein sources like cattle and vegetable sources like corn require substantial space for production. Reviewing your list from Question 2, what are other sources of protein which take less space? What fruits and vegetables could be produced in limited space?

Review the "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet" to determine what conditions of sunlight exist. Remember that other teams are responsible for providing you with a water supply (which will probably have to be used cautiously or rationed,) with electricity, with a temperature control system in the constructed Moonbase, and with an air supply of carbon dioxide and oxygen for plants and animals you wish to grow. Remember also that all original stocks of plants and animals must be transported from Earth. With these reminders, your task is to design a food production and delivery system in the Moonbase which will:

  • supply the inhabitants with all of their nutritional needs,

  • be self-sustaining without additional stock from Earth, and

  • provide products appealing enough that the inhabitants will enjoy eating their meals.

Construct a model of this system based on your design. It must include the application of at least four facts from the "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet." For example, how will the Moon's gravity affect the design of your system? Maybe your system will be very heavy but still portable by only a few Moonbase workers because the Moon's gravity is only 1/6th of Earth's gravity.
Make a detailed and labeled sketch of the model.

Go to "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet."

Return to Lunar Life Support.

Return to Hands-On Activities home page.