First tomatoes, peas harvested from mock Martian farm
by Brooks Hays
Wageningen, Netherlands (UPI) Mar 8, 2016
Round two of the Martian farming experiment at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands has proven more successful than the last.
This week, researchers announced a bountiful harvest from soil designed to mimic the makeup of Martian soil. Harvested crops included tomatoes, peas, rye, garden rocket, radish and garden cress.
Scientists said lessons learned during round one allowed for greater success during the second iteration of the experiment.
"We used trays instead of small pots and added organic material (fresh cut grass) to the Mars and moon soil simulant," researcher Wieger Wamelink said in a press release. "This solved the problem we had with watering in the first experiment and also added manure to the soils."
Researchers said the Mars soil simulant generated biomass on par with the Earth control soil, and was equally productive when properly prepped and watered.
Scientists also tested soil made to simulate lunar soil. Moon soil simulant produced much less biomass and was only able to support spinach.
The growing experiments were conducted in glass containers and under tightly controlled conditions. Constant temperature, humidity and light conditions were made to mimic growing conditions on Earth.
"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," said Wamelink.
While the first two experiments focused on crop viability, the next will look at edibility and food safety. Because Martian soil contains heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury, researchers need to study toxin levels in harvested crops.
Researchers are currently seeking crowdfunding for the third experiment.
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.