‘Martian’ vegetables good enough to eat
Hopes of colonising Mars took a step forward after scientists proved it was possible to grow food on Martian soil.
Researchers in the Netherlands have been trying to produce crops in soils created to simulate conditions on the Red Planet.
Scientists of Wageningen University and Research Centre were concerned that even if food grew it would contain dangerous levels of metals that would be toxic to humans.
But experiments growing tomatoes, peas, radishes and rye proved that the crops were not only safe, but possibly healthier than those grown on Earth.
“For radish, pea, rye and tomato, we did a preliminary analysis and the results are very promising,” says Dr Wieger Wamelink. “We can eat them.”
Researchers found Earth potting soil had higher contents of lead, arsenic and copper than Martian soil.
Nasa has said it wants to establish a Mars colony by the 2030s, but if the plans are to be realised, space-dwellers will need to learn to grow their own food.