Energy

You Can Totally Grow A Potato On Mars, Say Scientists

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

Scientists with the the International Potato Center in Peru published a study claiming potatoes can be grown in Mars-like conditions.

Scientists grew potatoes in a CubeSat-contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology in Lima. The potatoes have only been growing for a few weeks, but results so far are positive.

The CubeSat, based on NASA designs, houses a container holding soil and potatoes. Inside this hermetically sealed environment, the CubeSat mimics growing conditions on Mars. Sensors constantly monitor conditions, and live streaming cameras are aimed at the soil to watch potatoes sprout.

“Mars is the closest planet that has all the raw materials needed to support life and technological civilization,” Dr. Robert Zubrin, who helped design plans for NASA’s manned mission to Mars and wrote the “The Case For Mars,” told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If we can create the technologies to turn those raw materials into resources, startling with fuel and oxygen, but moving on the food, ceramics, glasses, plastics, and metals, power sources, wires, tubes, greenhouses, habitats, and the rest, the Red [P]lanet will become a place we can settle,” said Zubrin, who was not involved in the study.

Scientists believe mastering growing potatoes and other plants on Mars will greatly speed up attempts to colonize the Red Planet.

“Mars has plenty of raw materials, but no food resources -or any other kind of resources – yet,” Zubrin told TheDCNF. “But it will, once creative human pioneers are there, because it is humans that are resource-ful. Mars may seem like a very hostile environment, and in certain ways it is. [But] if we have the craft to develop the technologies that make food and other resources available there, we open a new frontier on a new world.”

Growing potatoes on Mars was a key premise of the 2015 blockbuster movie “The Martian.”

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