Straight out the movie “The Martian,” scientists are really doing it.
When and if colonists ever arrive on Mars, they’re going to need something to eat … on a long-term, ongoing basis. That’s why several research groups are looking into the feasibility of growing crops on the Red Planet.
One of those teams, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, previously tried growing food plants in simulations of both lunar and Martian soil. Although those tests proved unsuccessful, that wasn’t the case the most recent time around.
The soil simulants were provided by NASA, with the moon soil actually coming from a desert in Arizona, and the Mars soil coming from a Hawaiian volcano. Previously, plants grown in nothing but these soils died. This time, however, fresh-cut grass was added to the growing medium. This helped the soil to retain water, while also acting as a form of fertilizer.