We could visit Mars within a decade—and grow food when we get there

crops on mars

A visit to Mars is almost guaranteed within the next decade or so …. And long-term occupation may not be much farther behind. [T]here are many obstacles to overcome …. one of them is …. learning to farm in new places …. there’s reason to be optimistic about our skills off-world.

Mars isn’t so dissimilar from Earth …. They have rocky surfaces, and they’re close-ish in size, composition, and gravity – about as good as we can get in this solar system …. Mars even has some water …. The planet is much colder …. And it’s pretty lacking in anything resembling an atmosphere.

But humans have been learning to farm in hostile environments since we began to grow our own food …. We understand how to make soil plants can love …. At the Florida Institute of Technology, a group of researchers and students have been trying out their martian farming skills. They tried planting crops in Earth soil (for a control), mock martian regolith, and the same regolith with added fertilizer. They started with lettuce, and soon added tomatoes, peas, and peppers.

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Related article:  Viewpoint: New book "A Matter of Taste" cuts through fog of 'misinformation' around GMOs and modern farming

There are still many challenges to overcome …. But there’s definitely hope that future martian settlers will be able to …. crops grown on their very own martian farms.

Read full, original article: Scientists are figuring out how to farm Mars

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