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STATES CHRONICLE – A new idea was implemented by astronomers concerning agriculture on Mars. After astronauts have been complaining about food resources needed for the next space mission, researchers are thinking about growing vegetables and cereals on Mars. Martian earth, covered with volcanic rocks and regolith, is the least auspicious place to cultivate veggies. Toxic chemicals which come from the soil and from the atmosphere would bring more damage to a garden.
Despite all these known facts, experts managed to find a way to make agriculture possible on Mars. They conducted some experiments growing plants in the same conditions like Mars’. Scientists consider that they can face this new challenge.
NASA’s Kenney Space Center together with the Florida Tech Buzz Aldrin Space Institute developed tests prone to simulate agriculture on Mars. Ralph Fritsche, the project manager for the production of food at Kennedy Space Center, stated that the studies conducted in the Martian gardens developed on Earth would be a significant contribution for future researchers concerning agriculture on Mars.
This new experiment is bound to determine astronauts to develop gardens on Mars and to perform tests on plants at the International Space Station. The difference between Martian Earth and Terra earth is that the soil on Mars does not have organic material. It is composed out of smashed volcanic rocks. Trent Smith, the project manager of the Veggie experiment, argued that they are trying to reveal more ways to increase plant production to reach the amount needed in astronauts’ diet.
The “Martian garden” was developed by first collecting soil from Hawaii which was modified to achieve the same parameters as Mars’ earth. This Hawaiian dirt has helped scientists measure the amount of land needed for crops which are bound to reach an optimal growth.
This first study initiated a partnership between a professor of chemical ecology at Florida Tech, Drew Palmer, and a professor at the College of Aeronautics at Florida Tech, Brooke Wheeler. These two scientists have managed to grow lettuce under certain circumstances. A plant was grown in stimulant, the second one in a stimulant where additional nutrients were immersed, and the third one grew in potting soil. The first lettuce cultivated in the Mars-like earth had the same taste as the other two plants. The difference was the slower germination process and weaker roots. The one that grown in potting soil had stronger roots.
What do you think about this innovative idea? Do you believe it will help astronauts?
Image source: wikipedia