The second experiment on how to grow crops on Mars and moon soil simulant have given a surprising outcome. As a result of what the researchers of Wageningen University & Research centre in the Netherlands learned from their first experiments, they were able to grow ten different crop species. Tomatoes, peas, rye, garden rocket, radish and garden cress were harvested.
“The total above ground biomass produced on the Mars soil simulant was not significantly different from the potting compost we used as a control”, says researcher Dr Wieger Wamelink. The goal of the experiments is to provide the basis for growing crops on Mars and on the moon, in order to feed the first settlers.
Moon soil simulant
A few improvements have been made since the first experiment. Wamelink: “We used trays instead of small pots and added organic material (fresh cut grass) to the Mars and moon soil simulant. This solved the problem we had with watering in the first experiment and also added manure to the soils.” In particular the crop growth on the moon soil simulant showed improvement. Where in the first moon soil experiment most plants died, in the next round they flourished and the researchers could harvest from the same species as on the Mars soil simulant and the earth potting compost control.
The production of biomass on the Mars soil simulant was lower than on the earth control, but it was a minor difference and caused by one of the trays that showed less growth. It was also not statistically different from the earth control. “That was a real surprise to us”, comments Wamelink. “It shows that the Mars soil simulant has great potential when properly prepared and watered. The biomass growth on the moon soil simulant was less than on both other soils, about half of the biomass. Only the spinach showed poor biomass production.”
Although the Wageningen researchers harvested several edible crops, they did not eat them. Wamelink: “The soils contain heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury and also a lot of iron. If the components become available for the plants, they may be taken up and find their way into the fruits, making them poisonous. Further research on this is necessary and that is one of the reasons why a crowdfunding campaign has been started to finance the third experiment that will be all about food safety. The experiment should start in April 2016 with the growth of a new batch of crops including potatoes and beans. If the crops prove to be safe enough to eat, the funders will be invited for dinner where a ‘Martian meal’ will be served that includes the harvested crops; at least for those who dare!.”
The soil experiment began in April 2015. Final harvest took place in October 2015. Ten different crop species (tomato, rye, radish, pea, leek, spinach, garden rocket, cress, quinoa and chives) were sown in trays with either Mars or moon soil simulant and earth potting compost as a control. Plants were cultivated in a glass house under constant temperature, humidity and light conditions and under earth atmosphere. “This is because we expect that first crop growth on Mars and moon will take place in underground rooms to protect the plants from the hostile environment including cosmic radiation”, states Wamelink. The Wageningen UR researchers use Mars and moon soil simulants provided by NASA, that mimic Mars and moon soil as closely as possible. The Mars soil simulant originates from a volcano on Hawaii and the moon soil simulant from an Arizonian desert.
The Latest on: Growing crops on Mars and the Moon
via Google News
The Latest on: Growing crops on Mars and the Moon
- Plants Grown In Simulated Mars Conditions Found Safe To Eaton June 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm
In greenhouses at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, scientists have been growing a very special crop. Since 2013, an experimental group of plants have taken root in soil meant to simulate that ... […]
- Local greenhouse works to grow veggies on Marson May 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm
so the goal is to boost yield and possibly flavor of greenhouse grown crops." Researchers say that could work on Mars and the Moon too. The film would be on the planet's surface, absorb the light, ... […]
- New Space Mission Will Grow Tomatoes on Marson May 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm
A small satellite that will attempt to grow tomatoes in outer space is one of several to ... will replicate the gravity on both the Moon and Mars over the course of its year-long mission. “When you’re ... […]
- Growing crops in space, reaping the benefits on Earthon February 3, 2019 at 1:00 am
The ongoing experiments on Moon, Mars and elsewhere could translate into better crop ... The first-ever attempt to grow plants on another celestial body, can be considered promising, if inconclusive. ... […]
- Plants have been grown on the Moon for the very first timeon January 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm
There’s life on the Moon ... astronauts headed to Mars will need sustainable sustenance for the two-and-a-half-year journey and then on the surface of the Red Planet once they arrive. With the ability ... […]
- China is growing plants on the moonon January 15, 2019 at 4:07 am
China is growing plants on the moon, the country’s space agency announced Monday ... for astronauts to grow their own supply of food on deep space missions to Mars and beyond. Plants have successfully ... […]
- China wants to know if plants will grow on the far side of the Moonon December 4, 2018 at 11:33 am
Sending a crewed mission to Mars, even if it just orbits ... As for the aforementioned desire to see whether Moon soil could support life, the lander will conduct an experiment and attempt to grow ... […]
- Scientists Are Sending A 'Greenhouse' To Space To Practice Growing Tomatoes On The Moon And Marson November 27, 2018 at 11:34 am
This particular microsatellite, packed with tomato seeds, is designed to help us prepare to one day grow plants on other worlds. If we want humans to live long-term on the Moon or Mars, they’re going ... […]
- How NASA is learning to grow plants in space and on other worldson September 21, 2018 at 6:03 am
Scientists are interested in potentially using interplanetary soil someday to grow plants. However, the “soil” found on the Moon and Mars isn’t really soil; it’s regolith, or loose, rocky material ... […]
via Bing News