One of the main problems that the first Martian colonists will face is food. The reserves brought with you will certainly be limited. Under these conditions, there is a natural need to grow food directly on Mars, in conditions of destructive radiation, discharged atmosphere and sharp temperature changes.
The International Center for Potato (CIP) together with NASA in 2016 initiated the start of the unique project “Potato on Mars”. The main studies are conducted in the desert de la Hoya in the south of Peru, where the soil that is dehydrated on the ground is located, which has a certain similarity with the Martian.
To conduct one of the experiments, a special sealed container was chosen inside the Cubesat satellite, where conditions were created close to Martian. Inside the camera, LEDs are installed that simulate solar radiation and a controller to simulate sudden temperature changes characteristic of the change of Martian time of the day. Scientists also have the opportunity to regulate the pressure of the air, the content of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The first encouraging results have been achieved: the potatoes are rooted and grows in deserted soil inside the Cubesat camera. The greatest successes are associated with salt -resistant varieties withdrawn within the framework of the current project. One of them showed himself well in the lowlands of the subtropics, as well as in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Scientists are trying to find out at the same time the possibility of growing potatoes on Mars and in extreme earthly conditions. If successful, it will be possible to solve food security problems in countries suffering from hunger.
Source — CIP