A major discovery about the Red Planet could totally change a future manned mission to Mars in the coming decades.
Scientists from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lima, Peru have just stumbled upon a remarkable discovery: we could possibly grow potatoes on the planet’s surface. Scientists from the International Potato Center were able to manufacturing growing conditions similar to Mars, and they found that it was possible to grow potatoes in those conditions, a huge boon to a potential manned mission in the future.
Scientists used a CubeSat designed at the university to make their findings. It’s essentially a box that mimmicks the day and night patterns on Mars, as well as the temperature, the air pressure, and the conditions of the atmosphere. The findings show it’s possible to create a colony on Mars that could sustain itself, something a permanent settlement would need to do.
Scientists chose the potato because of how adaptive it is, as it can handle rough soil conditions and endure even the worst droughts. And as this experiment shows, it may be able to handle a whole different planet.
“Lima (Peru) The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth,” reads the statement from the Cgiar Researcher Center. “This Phase Two effort of CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016 when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima based upon designs and advice provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Ames Research Center (NASA ARC), California.”