Care for some Martian salad? A team of Dutch scientists announced that they have grown four types of veggies in soil that's similar on Mars, and they are deemed safe to eat.
The scientists from Wagenigen University in Netherlands have successfully cultured radishes, peas, rye and tomatoes on a type of soil developed by NASA containing Martian and Lunar soil simulants. The Guardian reports that the team has been experimenting in growing Martian vegetables since 2013 and has since then raised 10 crops, six of which need further testing to see if they are not dangerous for human consumption.
“These remarkable results are very promising,” said senior ecologist Wieger Wamelink.
According to Universe Today, the project, called MarsOne, aims to overcome all challenges in future human colonization on Mars including food. The greenhouse for Martian veggies are located in a glass complex in a town called Nergena. Since MarsOne's inception in 2012, ecologists and crop scientists have been testing various types of seeds to determine which of those will grow best in a Lunar and Martian condition. After successfully harvesting the said four crops, the scientists observed if the seeds from the plants would be able to germinate in the Mars-like soil for re-harvesting.
“Our expectation were very low. So we were very surprised that on the Mars soil simulant plants grew rather well and even better than on our nutrient poor control earth soil," Wamelink explained. "There were also problems, the biggest that it was very difficult to keep the soil moist and that though on Mars soil simulant there was growth it was not very good, i.e. the amount of biomass formed was low.”
The Guardian notes that NASA has plans of sending a manned trip to Mars in the near future, and studies that focus on human necessities for Martian colonization is a must. In order to ensure that future human populations on Mars will have a variety of food sources, Wamelink explains that it's vital to test as much veggies and crops as possible.
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