After seven months of traveling through space, NASA’s InSight mission has landed on Mars. The red planet does not seem to be far away anymore. The question now is: What should we eat there?
Space solutions mean being extremely efficient with food, water, air, and energy – the same things we struggle with on earth. But it’s not just space solutions that can make Mars flourish when we humans get there. Smartly designed hyper-complex, rich and improved nature-based cultivation systems have already transformed wasteland in Burkina Faso into sparkling and highly productive gardens with a variety of crops.
It is an extremely fascinating research: Practical plant cultivation and food production created by the Sony Computer Science Lab in Tokyo and called “synecoculture”. Can it be used on Mars?
The lack of food is one of many obstacles for those planning human settlements in space. Dutch scientists are trying to help the space pioneers in the pile by growing vegetables in soil similar to the soil on the moon and Mars.
When people go to the moon and Mars they will also need to eat, and the easiest for them is to grow their own food.
The real thing could not be obtained. But the US Space Agency Nasa provided scientists with “lunar sand” and “Mars land” taken from the Arizona desert and a volcano in Hawaii, respectively. In it they sowed tomatoes, peas, cress and other crops. And the result was successful:
Especially in the Martian soil, the plants grew very quickly and very well. They also started to flower, which was never expected.
An article about the experiment, which lasted 50 days, was published in the scientific journal PLOS One 2014. But many questions remain for researchers to answer. For example, whether the vegetables are safe to eat, given that both real “space” and Nasa’s imitation can contain heavy metals that can be harmful to humans.