Albuquerque-Metro

UNM GLOWpod offers a look into the future of farming

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - It's a greenhouse unlike any other, where plants tell you exactly what they need and anyone who steps inside gets a unique look at how they grow.
 
It's called a GLOWpod and the creators say it's not just a science experiment but an immersive experience. 

"We'll take this sphere and we'll line it in lights. We'll fill it with plants and we'll make it a futuristic space greenhouse," says UNM Professor Andrea Polli. 

Polli oversaw the development and creation of the GLOWpod by UNM students. She says G-L-O-W stands for "Growing Life on Other Worlds." 

"We're thinking about if we have to leave this planet or we do leave this planet and try and populate other worlds what are the essential things we need to survive," Polli says. 
 
The science experiment is essentially a tiny greenhouse covered in LED lights and its filled with 12 different plant species.

"So we have a temperature sensor and a moisture sensor that's actually in soil in the plants and the lights show what's happening," Polli says. 
 
Polli says the lights color and their blinking pattern will let the gardener know what the plants need.

"You might be able to water it remotely or take care of it remotely," Polli says. 

“You’re gathering data from the plants from their environment," says Explora Project Manager Amy Greene. 

The GLOWpod made its debut at the Paseo Project in Taos back in September. It is currently being put back together at Explora, where it will be on display next week.

Once the GLOWpod is complete, visitors can come inside and put on virtual reality goggles and get a look at how plants would grow in other atmospheres.

“To see how plants might be growing there. It’s a total immersive experience," says Greene. 

The GLOWpod will open to the public next Friday and be on display at Explora for at least a year. 

The GLOWpod is 9 feet tall, 8 feet wide and can hold about 250 plants. 


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