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How do you grow food on the saline soil of Mars?  Scientists have devised a method

How do you grow food on the saline soil of Mars? Scientists have devised a method

American scientists have devised a method that allows them to grow food on the salty, nutrient-poor Martian soil. They made compost from the remains of dead alfalfa plants, which actually grew on the harsh Martian soil fake to the authors. Then they used this fertilizer to grow lettuce, radish and rapeseed in the same soil. Salt removed the authors with cyanobacteria.

Space farming experiments could help space organizations and commercial companies that plan to send humans to Mars, the small neighboring planet of Earth, for extended periods of time. Authors to describe Their experiences on Wednesday in the scientific journal PLUS ONE.

Thanks to unmanned Mars rovers and space probes, planetary scientists know what soil on Mars is made of, and that it is unsuitable for agriculture. The soil owes its rust-like color to iron oxide (rust). Soil also contains perchlorate, a chemical compound that is also found in rocket fuel and is toxic. There are few nutrients such as nitrate and ammonium. The water is supposed to be in the form of ice. The soil on Mars is salty and it’s not clear if the water ice on Mars will be salty once it melts. If so, it cannot be used directly for watering vegetables.

dead plant remains

American scientists have been searching for strategies on how to grow vegetables on Mars soil. To do this, they first created a fake Martian soil from volcanic rock, crushed into grains about three millimeters wide. Then they looked at how to add nutrients to that soil. Alfalfa plants contain a lot of nutrients and this plant grew well on the soil of Mars for the authors. They grind the remains of dead alfalfa from the dust of Mars into a powder. Use it as a fertilizer for lettuce, radish and rapeseed. They also grew the same vegetables in pots of fake Martian soil without fertilizer. All pots were in the growing chamber, with humidity and temperature controllable.

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What did you turn? Rapeseed grew 190 percent more in soil with alfalfa plant fertilizer. Radishes increased by 311% and lettuce by 79%.

The researchers then looked at how to desalinate the fake Martian salt water. Marine biologists already knew that cyanobacteria make Earth’s seas less salty. The authors added a layer of cyanobacteria Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 to a bottle containing 100 milliliters of Mars water and place the bottle in the growth chamber for four weeks. Then they removed the bacteria by sifting the water with volcanic rocks. The cyanobacteria were reused in the same water and then sieved again. The water contained 91 percent less salt at the end.

Space farmer Weger Wamelink of Wagengen University is pleased that researchers have found a way to make Mars’ water less salty. He’s less enthusiastic about fake Martian soil. “The authors did not take into account the structure of Martian soil. In their soil on Mars, all grains are the same size, while grains on Mars are different. Grains that are all different slide into each other more easily than if they were the same size. As a result, there is less room for water At the bottom of Mars – and therefore less water for plants – than in the authors’ soil.”