AstroPlant v6 is out

hi you all, a related project that has been discussed in this forum a couple of times before, has developed a new version of their maker kit, which is based on a different stack and has some different goals than the PFC, but also many similarities. What AstroPlant does is not so much controlling for the environment, but placing a semi-controlled growth chamber in different locations (fablabs, schools, universities) and track the growth of plant and compare growth data with environmental data.

It’s a citizen science project with ESA - the European Space Agency, and we work with partners like Accenture and others. Compared to PFC, the AstroPlant kit is not 100% controlled, it’s (probably) easier to get started because we make and ship all the components, and it’s linked to a specific science project called MELiSSA. As said, there are some technical differences as well, but over time we hope to synchronise the way we collect and share data (we’re actively working towards that).

Here a short description/

Growing plants in extreme environments like Mars, the Moon, or on the South Pole? Impossible without reliable technologies to sustain a healthy environment for the plants and a good understanding of how to regulate that environment to make the plants grow over and over again. The AstroPlant network is an international network of citizen scientists, schools, and makers who contribute to the science of plant characterisation. AstroPlant and partners provide DIY kits to create plant labs, protocols and seeds to get started, and a scalable IoT backbone to manage and visualise plant growth data. It is a community initiative kickstarted by ESA and Border Sessions, and is supported by the MELiSSA consortium, Accenture Interactive, SURFsara, and other organisations.


I do love your approach for filterless NDVI in controlled environments. What a brilliant idea!

thanks! I can put you in contact with Matthias if you want to know more.

I messed up with NDVI stuff some time ago but I stopped to focus on current project but I will keep an eye on your project too, thank you. But your post make me remember that some time ago I found a company named GreenSeeker who are manufacturing an interesting device for real time monitoring of N concentration in crops but NDVI too. Essentially the device illuminate the leaves with modulated IR and Red light and a photodector picks up the reflected light, discriminate between sun light and IR/Red light then the values are further processed. But in a controlled environment there is no need for such complicated hardware. May be a simple IR/Red led and an optically focused photodetector setup may be enaugh for doing some research.

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Hi, indeed you are right. I’m currently working on the camera module in the Astroplant kit, and preliminary results show that a decent NDVI image can be made with some simple low power red and nir LEDs in combination with the Raspberry Pi NoIR camera. Sensitivity of the sensor is pretty good, even in the nir range. I’m currently wrapping up a python module that can be used in the Astroplant kit, and results of a somewhat longer (two week interval) test should be coming in a few weeks. If you’re interested keep an eye on the website, and if you’d like to take a look at the code, you can visit


I’ve reached out to them via their info@ email address as I wanted to make sure that they’d ship to the US but I never heard back. If you know someone on the project that I might be able to contact directly, I’m interested in buying a few kits for my son’s school.

Thanks in advance,

hey Mark, please email me at We do ship worldwide. Very strange the email did not arrive! I will try to find out how that was possible. I did get another email on today so it seems to be working. Hope to see your email soon! Thieme

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Thanks, i will download now

How do you join the project? I’m a last year secondary school student in a french school in the UK.

hey Paul, best is to order a maker kit, and work with a local maker space or small group of tech-savvy people (like yourself?) to build the kit and connect it. Seeds and protocols will be provided by ESA.