‘The Martian’: More science than fiction? Crops could grow in space, study suggests

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Matt Damon in ‘The Martian’ grew his own food on Mars. Image: Handout

Whoever is going to survive on the Moon and Mars is going to have to eat. There’s just one problem. Much like astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian, astronauts and eventual space colonists who leave terrestrial soil are going to need to grow that food in extraterrestrial soil.

Our species has now proven that plants from Earth can actually grow and even thrive in Martian and lunar regolith. After planting seeds in Mars and Moon soil simulants prepared by NASA, a research team at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands were able to cultivate 10 crops that don’t grow naturally anywhere outside of this planet. Not only that—most of the crops, with the exception of spinach (which you probably wouldn’t care about anyway) were edible.

Related article:  AI could help farmers cut weather-related crop losses by 25% as global food demand soars

“Food can and will be brought along, but for a permanent stay, production of crops on Mars or the Moon to supplement or even supply the food demand could be a necessity,” said the team in a study recently published in Open Agriculture.

Read full, original article: The Martian is getting eerily real, because Earth crops can actually grow in lunar and Martian soil

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