- Scientists to grow crops on the lunar soil and the Martian surface
- Life on the outer planets might actually be possible
- Experiments done using soil simulants prove that it might be possible to cultivate crops on the red planet
Is it possible to visit Mars or the Moon and try to live there if we can grow crops on these planets? As absurd as the idea sounds, people who have seen “The Martian” must already be familiar with NASA scientists and their endeavor to grow crops on the red planet.
Now, researchers from Wageningen University and Research are claiming that it is indeed possible. These researchers from the university in the Netherlands also claim that they have already grown crops on the Moon and Mars through soil simulants that have been developed by NASA. Therefore, the activity goes a long way toward bolstering the idea of food being cultivated in the far-off planets of the universe.
In addition to that, the idea also makes it possible to settle people on those planets and feed them by offering them nourishing and viable seeds from the crops that have been cultivated there.
Hence, the team of researchers at the university has claimed that they actually grew diverse crops on the red planet such as garden cress, tomato, rocket, rye, radish, spinach, quinoa, peas, leek, and chives.
What Did The Scientists Actually Do?
As a part of their experiment, scientists simulated the properties of soil of the Martian and the Moon’s regolith as opposed to the terrestrial or normal soil of the Earth. NASA did not have regolith available for their scientific experiments on plant growth.
Therefore, the organization put regolith simulants into place. These simulants were amalgamated using organic material to simulate the residues from all the preceding harvests.
As a result, they found out that nine of the total ten crops that they grew on the red planet, actually cultivated quite well.
Spinach did not perform too well in this experiment. In addition to that, they shared that they put out the edible parts that had harvested quickly.
All these findings indicate that it is, indeed, possible to grow crops on the lunar soil. Scientists have also observed that the Moon Soil Simulant is different from that of the Mars Soil Simulant.
As shared by the lead researcher of the university, they were absolutely thrilled to see the tomatoes they grew on the soil simulant of Mars turning red. This was an indication that it is possible to create a sustainable closed agricultural ecosystem on the Martian as well as the lunar surface.
The best thing about this experiment is that in addition to the germination of crops, there was also the germination of an idea to carry out this activity outside the planet Earth.
Now, scientists are able to envision a future where humans can settle on these outer planets with relative comfort.
They also foresee that it will not be long before humans will be able to sustain themselves on Mars as slowly, but surely, the cultivation of crops becomes more than just a dream.
This is a massive breakthrough in the field of science, and the future that once looked nearly impossible looks doable very soon.
Himanshu is a law student who lives in Delhi. He caught the writing bug a few months ago and has been unstoppable ever since. He enjoys traveling, coffee, and the company of like-minded people.