Phototron and Martha Stewart!
Available from the late 1980s until just recently, the Phototron 2™ was a small table-top version of a phytotron. The Phototron 2, its publicity material said, “allows uniform control of up to 23 physical/chemical environmental factors” in a one meter tall, hexagonal design that uses vertical fluorescent lights combined with a “Base Nutrient Formula™” “calibrated based on known factors including light spectrum, intensity and output, wattage as a measurement of heat, air exchange, [and] calculated water evaporation/transpiration rates.” To support your controlled indoor growing Phototron 2, the corporation further offers the “Feed-A-Tron” patented watering system. While such units now seem perhaps adept at supplying the growing personal marijuana market, in the 1990s the Phototron’s designers and promoters proudly reported it “in use” at the “NASA-Marshall Space and Flight Center” as part of the study of reclamation and recycling technologies and systems for the then proposed international space station and “virtually all subsequent, future, long-duration, manned space exploration missions,” or something like an updated Algatron.
The Phototron 2 even starred on an episode of Martha Stewart’s television show in May 2011. One can imagine Martha and Snoop Dogg comparing growing notes during Justin Beiber's comedy roast, as the device has been subsequently widely used in the home-grown marijuana market.
. Advertising brochure for Phototron2 found in ‘Phytotron vertical file,’ The LuEster Library of the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. Quotes from Daniel S. Janik and Jeffery J. MeMarco, ‘Engineering Testbed for Biological Water/Air Reclamation and Recycling,’ SAE Technical Paper Series, 901231, July 1990, p. 2.
. Janik and Jeffery J. MeMarco, ‘Engineering Testbed for Biological Water/Air Reclamation and Recycling,’ SAE Technical Paper Series, 901231, July 1990, p. 5, 1. From ‘Phytotron vertical file,’ The LuEster Library of the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.