You’ve watched the movie “The Martian” right? A Ridley Scott movie about an astronaut who was thought dead and left behind in Mars, He later ends up growing potatoes and feeding on them in order to survive. Now, the idea of growing potatoes in Mars is about to turn reality, NASA in conjunction with Peru-based International Potato Centre (CIP) are going to conduct an experiment with the intent to prove that potatoes can be grown in a Mars-like environment on Earth and hopes of perform the operation in Mars.
I am excited to put potatoes on Mars and even more so that we can use a simulated Martian terrain so close to the area where potatoes originated
The soil used in the experiment will be gotten from Peru’s Pampas de La Joya desert, which is almost identical to those found on Mars. If this is successful, CIP and NASA could pioneer space farming in the future which will not just be limited to Mars, but other planets also and moons in the solar system.
CIP explained in a press release “The increased levels of carbon dioxide will benefit the crop, whose yield is two to four times that of a regular grain crop under normal Earth conditions. The Martian atmosphere is near 95 percent carbon dioxide”
The goal of this project is not just to provide more potatoes for presumably dead astronauts in Mars but to prove that foods can be grown in such harsh conditions and also to tackle famine which is another problem some parts of the world face. Since Mars has high levels of carbon dioxide Scientists believe potato crops could yield up to four times more than when grown on Earth.
How better to learn about climate change than by growing crops on a planet that died two billion years ago? We need people to understand that if we can grow potatoes in extreme conditions like those on Mars, we can save lives on Earth
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
Established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science, NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs.