Future Mars Colony Can Grow Vegetables In Martian Soil

In a recent breakthrough discovery, scientists grew leeks and tomatoes in Martian soil. This study brings us one step closer to come up with a reliable Mars colony. The scientists also obtained favorable results when they used lunar soil.

“A permanent human settlement on Mars or the Moon is becoming more realistic. Several countries and private companies are preparing for this journey. One of the major issues will be ensuring food availability and safety,” explained Dr. Wieger Wamelink and his co-workers in the study published in Open Agriculture.

“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 total food demand could be a necessity,” the researchers added.

As we know, lunar regolith is rare, while Martian soil is, at the moment, impossible to find anywhere on Earth since no samples have been collected and brought home. Accordingly, the scientists had to reproduce both Moon regolith and Martian soil.

Future Mars Colony Can Grow Vegetables In Martian Soil

For their study, scientists tried to grow garden cress, rocket, tomato, radish, rye, quinoa, spinach, chives, peas, and leek. All the plants and vegetables grew in Martian soil as they would do in Earth soil, except for spinach.

As the researchers reported, they selected a whole bunch of spicy plants because the ISS astronauts frequently complained about the lack of spicy foods in their diet. For the future Mars colony, the addition of spicy plants in their daily menu would be welcomed.

“We were thrilled when we saw the first tomatoes ever grown on the Mars soil simulant turning red. This means that the next step towards a sustainable closed agricultural ecosystem had been taken,” said Dr. Wamelink.

Even more, the scientists managed to harvest seeds from radishes, cress, and rye. That is an essential thing for the long-term cultivation of these plants in Martian soil. Accordingly, we are one step closer to an independent Mars colony.

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