AUG 19, 2019 06:51 PM PDT

Can We Grow Plants on Mars?

If we were ever to send humans to Mars for a long-term or permanent visit, then it’d be essential that we develop some sort of renewable food source. One idea would be planting vegetables in Martian soil and growing them to edible capacities; but just how feasible is this idea?

In 2016, researchers filled planting containers with simulated Martian soil and successfully grew different plants including chives, peas, spinach, and tomatoes among other things in the mixtures. Notably, however, this was with the help of organic fertilizer, which helped water pass through the soil and to the plants’ roots.

As it turns out, Martian soil is rich in nutrients, but it’s somewhat different in composition because it’s a lot more like regolith. On the other hand, soil found in different parts of Mars contains different combinations of nutrients – the same happens here on Earth. That said, certain Martian soil mixtures could be more plant-friendly than others.

Some Martian soil is high in heavy metal content, and this would be toxic for the plants that absorb them and for any humans that would then ingest those tainted plants. Given the circumstances, this soil would need to be processed before it could be used for plant-growing, otherwise, it would produce toxic food.

The idea of growing plants on another planet isn’t new, but technology is advancing rapidly, and it could become possible sooner rather than later.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 16, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 16, 2019
Littered Cigarette Butts are Harmful to Plants
What do you think of when you hear the words, "plastic pollution"? Beverage bottles, straws, and packaging are probably just a few items that com...
SEP 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2019
Watch This Dive Team Collect a Blood Sample From a Captive Whale Shark
Getting a blood sample from a massive whale shark can be particularly challenging and would typically require administering an anesthetic to put the animal...
SEP 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2019
Belgian Zoo Welcomes Two Newborn Panda Twins
This past week has been an exceptionally thrilling one for staff at the Belgian Pairi Daiza zoo. A female giant panda there named Hao Hao delivered a coupl...
SEP 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2019
Here's Everything You Need to Know About a Kangaroo's Pouch
Kangaroos are particularly interesting creatures, and perhaps one of their most recognizable attributes is the pouch on mothers’ bellies that provide...
SEP 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2019
Barn Owls Fly Without Making a Sound
When most birds take flight, their wingbeats cause a ruckus; this is typically a repetitive ‘swooshing’ noise generated by the rushing air that...
SEP 16, 2019
Cancer
SEP 16, 2019
Treating dogs with human breast cancer drugs
Did you know that dogs get lung cancer? New research published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research shows how dogs with cancer are benefiting f...
Loading Comments...