Much thought has been given to the kinds of vegetables that will be grown on Mars. Students have given their choices for the perfect Martian garden that may flourish one day in the context of our solar system.
Elon Musk’s space agency known as SpaceX and NASA want to send astronauts to Mars. In fact, they want to colonize the Red Planet within the next decade and a half.
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As for the experts, they are already busy trying to figure out what the human beings will be consuming in the way of nutritional nourishment on Mars. The journey alone may take up to two and a half years. Food that will last such a long time aboard the spacecraft will indeed be a hassle.
The astronauts may actually need to grow their own garden crops aboard the space vessel. As for growing veggies in Martian soil, that is a whole different ball game.
It is a very difficult task since the conditions are not exactly favorable for nurturing plant life. To simulate the growing of veggies on Mars, researchers have begun an experiment called “Martian Gardens”.
This experiment uses soil from Hawaii that is similar in its nature to soil from the Red Planet. Students participated in the experiment, according to NASA. The soil on Mars is made up of pulverized volcanic rock and has no organic matter in it.
This means that plants will have next to nil chances of survival in it. To say the word “soil” automatically means that it contains organic material. This encompasses plant life, insects and earthworms not to mention humus.
Mars does not have soil that contains such materials. Scientists tried to gauge the amount of soil that will be necessary and what ought to be added to it to make it able to grow plants in its context.
Lettuce was grown in three types of soil: the virtual Martian kind, one from Mars with nutrients added and regular earth soil, according to CSMonitor. The lettuce that had been grown in the virtual Martian soil tasted the same as those grown in the other samples.
Yet it had feeble roots and took a long time to reach maturity. The researchers have full plans to plant radishes, Swiss chard, kale, Chinese cabbage, snow peas, dwarf peppers and tomatoes in the three types of soil and see the results.
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Last year, NASA astronauts grew lettuce aboard the ISS. It is a complex process to grow vegetables in the inhospitable conditions of outer space, yet it could be managed with a few tweaks here and there.