Move over, Hollywood. We are Roberto Furfaro and Gene Giacomelli, the NASA-funded scientists who built the REAL "The Martian" food-growing system.
We are technical co-principal investigators on the NASA-funded project, started in 2009, whereby we and our team have built a fully functional lunar and Martian greenhouse. A live web-cam feed of our system is viewable here: 18.104.22.168/home/homeS.html.
Gene Giacomelli is a University of Arizona professor, and the director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He received a Ph.D. in Horticultural Engineering from Rutgers University in 1983.
Roberto Furfaro is a University of Arizona assistant professor, and the director of the Space Systems Engineering Lab on campus. He received a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the UA in 2004.
Update: (12:15 MST / 3:15 p.m. EST) Signing off! Sorry we couldn’t get to everyone, but there were many similar questions asked throughout the AMA. Please read through the whole thread to see if your question was already answered. Thank you for all of your great questions!
Usernames being used for AMA: genegiacomelli robertofurfaro
Proof: Gene Giacomelli Selfie https://arizona.box.com/s/qmts3a7ou2ycri8pvnjv4uebpnocukvc
University Profile http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/gene-giacomelli-phd
Roberto Furfaro Selfie https://arizona.box.com/s/cvk5fn7orblu0c1axk3svx8oh1q3o8g7
University Profile http://www.sie.arizona.edu/roberto-furfaro