If You Want To Live On Mars, You Better Be Able To Farm

If You Want To Live On Mars, You Better Be Able To Farm
World
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

NASA is actively researching how we to go about creating a human colony on Mars and the first step is farming for food. Unfortunately, growing food on Mars may be a challenge NASA underestimated.

Though research on the International Space Station shows that plants can in fact grow in microgravity, scientists aren’t sure how the reduced gravity will affect crops only previously grown on Earth. Mars’ surface receives roughly half the amount of sunlight Earth does, so we’d need a whole lot of extra light from a greenhouse-like structure.

And getting that light requires a great deal of power. NASA has been experimenting with the use of LED lighting to give plants the wavelengths they need to flourish.

“In terms of the systems engineering required, it’s not an insignificant challenge,” said D. Marshall Porterfield, Life and Physical Sciences division director at NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

That greenhouse would also have to be enormous. The more energy pressure inside a greenhouse, the bigger of a structure it would have to be.

“You don’t have to inflate that greenhouse to Earth-normal pressure in order for plants to grow,” said Robert Ferl, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida. “Maintaining a full atmosphere of pressure is difficult on a planetary surface. You can take plants down to a tenth of an atmosphere and they’ll still function.”

Farmers on the planet would need to be able to protect themselves and their plants from radiation. Mars doesn’t have a layered, protective atmosphere like Earth’s, so the plants would be vulnerable to particles from space. And these particles would enter Mars through all the stuff we send from Earth.

“To maintain the infrastructure is the expensive part to grow plants, coupled with the need for redundancy if something fails,” MacCallum said.

He went on to say that it looks like it would would take 15 to 20 Earth years to transfer all the materials needed to create our greenhouse/garden.

If it’s going to take that long to transfer all that equipment, it might be more efficient to just ditch the farming idea and send the food over from Earth.

NASA has yet to figure out the best way to create a sustainable civilization on Mars, but scientists are very confident that its an achievement well within our reach.

“Every great migration in history happened because we took our agriculture with us,” Ferl said. “When you learn to take your plants with you, you can not only go to visit, you can go there to stay and live.”

Via Space.com, Photo Courtesy Mars One

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Sean Levinson

Sean Levinson loves writing almost as much as he loves ranting about politics. Elite Daily lets him do both, and he couldn't be happier now that he's finally putting his years at SUNY New Paltz to good use. When he's not writing, Sean enjoys nature excursions, playing the guitar and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Look for him on "Real Time with Bill Maher," where he regularly appears in his most precious fantasies.

More In World

World Adam Matula

Baby Elephant Has Some Serious Ribbon Dancing Skills (Video)

Elephants are apparently masters of ribbon dancing and rhythm gymnastics. Recent footage captured by tourists shows Faa Mai, a baby elephant who was rescued and currently lives at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, showing off in front of friends with a large blue ribbon. The intriguing baby elephant does tricks with the ribbon, spinning […]

World Adam Matula

Drunk Guy Somehow Manages To Get Stuck Under An ATM Door (Photos)

When an ATM swallowed his card, a drunken Cheng Kao got scared he might get locked inside the glass booth. He tried to escape by squeezing underneath the glass wall. Instead, he ended up stuck for an entire night. Concerned citizens of Zhejiang, an eastern province in China, called to report the stuck, unconscious man. […]

World Adam Matula

Once A Cheater Always A Cheater: Science Says Cheating Is Repetative

If your current partner cheated on their ex to be with you, it’s very possible you’re relationship is in serious trouble. Research suggests lovers who are “poached” away from others are more likely to cheat in their new relationships. Scientists at the University of Southern Alabama researched levels of commitment and satisfaction among 443 men […]

Also On Elite

Money

The Money Shot: How You Can Make It Big On Instagram, With Help From A Pro

Do you love taking pictures with your smartphone and uploading to Instagram? Have people told you that you take really beautiful photos? Now, there’s a way to make money off your social media habit. Mike Gutkin, a research scientist and talented photographer based in NYC, has been incredibly successful at selling his smartphone pictures. His […]