Building Oases on Earth and Beyond



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While researching for her undergraduate thesis at Duke University, Morgan Irons, realized that her concepts on plant growth in dead Martian soil and her now patented quasi-closed agro-ecological systems for space could be utilized on Earth to help solve issues surrounding food security. With dwindling agricultural resources, extreme weather changes, and local economic collapse affecting millions of people in both developed and developing countries, Morgan recognized the need for more sustainable solutions for feeding humanity. Putting that research to use, Morgan and her father, Lee, established Deep Space Ecology (DSE) in June 2016. DSE develops innovative agricultural models that work to grow food everywhere from the family farm to the most uninhabitable places on, and off Earth. A single small voice in the current commercial dominance of hydroponic systems for Earth and space, Morgan has captured industry attention. She has changed the conversation from simply supplementing established food systems with leafy greens to increasing the variety and dietary value of foods being grown in closed-loop systems, while addressing the non-sustainable cost of highly engineered agricultural systems on Earth and risk in deep space.

Morgan and Lee have brought together experts from agriculture, multiple fields of science, and a variety of technology industries, who, together with the talented team at DSE, are committed to building sustainable space habitation and technology that can improve current life on Earth. By combining the knowledge base from millennia of farming with the latest scientific theories on ecosystems, the DSE team has developed an innovative, modular system that enables food production under conditions of resource scarcity and supply chain dysfunction in even the most extreme locations.

From the seed of an idea, Deep Space Ecology has grown into a company that seeks to cultivate a better world through robust, self-sufficient agro-ecological systems for the deep spaces of Earth and our solar system, or for your back yard and local farmers. Our mission is to make food accessible to everyone on Earth, Mars, and beyond.



With dwindling agricultural resources affecting our farms, local economic collapse affecting our inner cities and rural towns, climate change affecting regional food supplies, and politically and geographically challenging supply chains affecting millions of people in both developed and developing countries, we are in need of more sustainable solutions for growing food and feeding people. Our model and innovations will work everywhere from the family farm to the harshest, hardest-to-reach, and most uninhabitable places on Earth, like the Himalayas and the Arctic.


In-situ resource limitations, non-existent economies, extreme space climates, and extremely long and expensive supply chains risk limiting human expansion and settlement in our solar system. The only difference between Mars and drought-stricken Ethiopia is lower gravity, lower atmospheric pressure, lower light levels, lower temperature, higher radiation levels, and longer supply chain. With additional innovations in these areas and the application of ecological theory, our Three-Zone Model is ideal for the Moon and Mars.


These same problems exist anywhere our human drive to explore and expand will take us, from the sub-surface oceans of Europa to the poles of Titan to a deep space mining station on 16 Psyche. Any human habitat in deep space must be fully renewable with competitive redundancy to reduce supply chain costs and dependency on Earth, ensure growing system success, provide food security for the local human population, and enrich living with mental refreshment from the mind-wearying, industrial interior of work areas and wastes of the local terrain.









Morgan is an ecologist and an environmental scientist. Her research is focused on understanding and applying ecological theories and principles to develop and manage quasi-closed, agro-ecological systems for use in extreme and changing Earth and space environments. Morgan and the DSE science team seek to understand how biogeochemical cycles and feedbacks may be developed in sterilized, degraded soil or regolith conditions through conducting fundamental research and field applications. Morgan Irons is a PhD candidate in the Field of Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University.



Lee is a scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur. Throughout his career, he has developed a skill and enjoyment of solving problems, especially the intractable ones. He has faced such problems in the fields and industries of space plasma physics research, energy production, hazardous environment decontamination and remediation, and large-scale engineering and construction projects.  In his role as CEO and General Manager of Deep Space Ecology, he is the chief visionary for the company, working with his executive team, technical advisory board, engineering team, and partners on solving the problems of food security and extreme agriculture on Earth and in space.



Dan is an innovative entrepreneur and master web architect who has advised a wide variety of web-centric businesses and brands by blending his creative, strategic, and technological abilities. He is a seasoned startup and open source veteran, with domain expertise in Space Exploration, Defense and Intelligence, big data, and consumer web. Having recently held positions as VP of Technology, Platform, and Analytics at UrtheCast, Director of Technology at premiere digital agencies, and Web Architect at the Linux Foundation, he has built bleeding edge consumer-facing technology, applications, and media experiences from the International Space Station to Times Square.

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