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Current Affairs

Crop growing on Mars

Date: 17 October 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Scientists have produced crops in Mars and lunar soil simulant developed by NASA. This has proved that it is possible to grow food on the Red Planet and the Moon to feed future settlers.

 

Background

To sustain life beyond earth, it is necessary to arrange for food needs of the population. Agriculture outside the earth is always said to be difficult to achieve considering differences in soil composition.

 

Details

  • The scientists cultivated ten different crops, including garden cress, tomato, radish, rye, quinoa, spinach, chives, and peas.

  • The researchers simulated the properties of Lunar and Martian regolith and normal soil  potting soil from Earth  which was used as a control.

  • Nine of the ten crops sown grew well and edible parts were harvested from them except spinach.

  • Total biomass production per tray was the highest for the Earth control and Mars soil simulant and differed significantly from Moon soil simulant.

  • The seeds produced by three species ,radish, rye and garden cress were tested successfully for germination.

 

Significance

  • When future humans colonise Mars or Moon, the food products need not be transported from earth. Instead only necessary ingredients like seeds can be transported.

  • Plants could well start the begining of life on Mars, with large habitat available for their sustainance.