purifAIR_crew | Small Spaces, Big Ideas!


The Challenge | Small Spaces, Big Ideas!

Create crew-friendly designs for a habitat and/or its multi-use furniture, to be used for isolation studies on Earth that are researching the environmental and human dimensions of life on another planet.


A smart plant system aimed to purify air and help socializing.


Our objective is to design an effective solution aimed to improve the life quality of the 6 people living in the HI-SEAS, the Hawaiian 80 m2 NASA environment that simulate a martian outpost.

The 2 core aspects that we are trying to combine in our project are the improvement of the indoor air quality and, smultaneously, social life of the crew. Nowadays one of the main issue we have to deal with is represented by the indoor pollution, a mix of harmful substances such as trichloroetilene, formaldeide, xylene, benzene and ammonia, that, on mars, can’t be simply eliminated opening the windows!

The solution we are developing is a personal “pet plant”: several existing plant species, in fact, are specialized in fighting this kind of pollution (Macdonald, 2015; Wolverton et al., 1989).

We are proposing a modular and space-saving system, ideated using the hydroponic technology, that makes it also water-saving. This system is provided withdocking station hanged on walls, to move the plant from a room to another, for example from a bedroom to a common space, in order to share the benefits with other people. Our solution is hi-tech: it includes several electronic devices, such as pH, soil moisture and electric conducibility sensors, in order to monitor the plant health; air temperature and humidity sensors, in addition, gives informations about the external environment via a small LCD display.

Moreover, the mobile pot system, provided with an wi-fi antenna, will be able to communicate with the owner via text messages on a smartphone, both automatic alarm notifications and requested informations.

That’s not all, we take the idea a step further, we are creating a social interface for the plant, namely the “pet” characteristic. The plant gain experience and level-up living, as a game character, while an NFC sensor will be able to recognize the environment in which the plant is. When the plant is docked in a common space near to other plants it gains experience rapdly, so it can stimulate people to share the purifying benefits…and also stimulate people to compete for reaching the highest experience level!


SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.