Growth of crops, e.g. tomato and radish, on Mars and moon soil simulant
Photo by Hoàng Duy Lê on Unsplash
What is it about?
When people will establish a settlement on Mars or the Moon, they will have to grow their own crops. Our view is that we use as much resources that are available at the site, in our case soil (regolith) and water (ice). Instead of real Mars or moon soil, which are not available on Earth, we use simulants. These simulants mimic Mars and moon Regolith as closely as possible. We added some organic matter (dead grass) as improvement of the regolith. Compared to our earlier research this improved water uptake capacity and nutrient availability of the soil. We also added a nutrient solution to mimic the addition of human faeces. This resulted in the growth of ten different crops on both Mars and moon soil simulant and the harvest of radish, tomato, peas and rye. Seeds formed by garden cress, radish and rye were sown in the regolith. Most of the seeds germinated, proving that a second generation of crops is possible.
Why is it important?
When we will have permanent settlements on the Moon or even Mars it will be necessary to grow the crops at the site. We believe that as much resources as possible from the site should be used to feed the future Martians or people on the moon. Therefore we use the soils for crop growth.
The following have contributed to this page: Wieger Wamelink