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 Sean Levinson

Blackmailers Threaten To Unleash Ebola If They Don’t Receive Ransom

The Czech government has received emails from people threatening to infect the public with Ebola unless a ransom of one million euros in Bitcoin is paid. The anonymous blackmailers claim to have obtained the virus from Liberia and warn that if their demands aren’t met, Ebola will be unleashed in Prague and then to the rest […]

World Gillian Fuller

Heart-Shaped Cloud Floats Above Bride And Groom At The Altar (Photo)

Noticing a heart-shaped cloud floating above you and your significant other on your wedding day is probably a good sign for what’s to come in the years ahead. So congratulations are definitely in order for John and Jessica Hardesty because on their wedding day, that’s exactly what happened. The outdoor ceremony, held in Idaho, took […]

World Adam Pliskin

Twins Spend $20K On Plastic Surgery To Make Sure They Stay Identical

Twin sisters Sara and Emma Koponen do everything together. They work out together. They eat together. They have even had identical plastic surgeries. The Swedish sisters are 25 years old and have spent over $20,000 on plastic surgery in order to change their bodies while looking exactly the same. They’ve had three boob jobs a […]

World Sean Levinson

People In Africa Are Being Urged To Use An Actual ‘Ebola Handshake’

The United States Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, has revealed what is now known as the “Ebola handshake,” displaying how anyone in the countries most affected by the outbreak should greet each other. Among those she’s demonstrated the new greeting with, Power touched elbows with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a press conference on Tuesday. […]

World Emily Arata

Sisters Jump For Joy After Hearing Their Mom Is Pregnant Again (Video)

When two sisters find out they’re about to have a new sibling, their enthusiasm is infectious. The girls’ mother gives them cakes reading “Big Sister” and “Big Sister… again.” It takes a moment for the message to set in, but soon both girls understand their family’s getting a little bigger. They squeal with excitement, wanting […]

Also On Elite

Humor

Man Who’s Had Sex With 700 Cars Talks About The Night It Started (Video)

There are people out there who are perfectly happy going through life only having sex in the missionary position under the covers with the lights out. Most people, however, find something that excites them a little bit more. When Edward Smith was 14 years old, he discovered one thing in particular that piqued his interest […]

Wellness

Miss Independent: Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Choosing A Night In

As I write this, I’m alone at my house at 7:13 pm on a Saturday evening, drinking an outstanding glass of Zinfandel after an aggressive episode of pizza consumption. I’m a 22-year-old female, so society says I shouldn’t be doing this. Society says there are shots to be taken, dancing to be done, and money […]

World

Airbnb Poster Girl Was Caught Renting Out A Space She Didn’t Own

Michelle Martinez is an Airbnb host and the unofficial poster girl for the $10 billion company. You’ve probably seen her on those “New Yorkers love us” subway ads and in the Hurricane Sandy promotional video. But it turns out Martinez might not be the best choice for such things, as it’s now been revealed that […]

Sports

Cinderella Story: Everything You Need To Know About The Orioles-Royals ALCS Matchup

The Orioles will take on the Royals in Major League Baseball’s American League Championship Series, which will start October 10. Here’s how the two teams got to the league’s semifinals and what to look for in the matchup: ALDS #1, Baltimore over Detroit: The Baltimore Orioles had little trouble knocking the Detroit Tigers out of […]

Wellness

If You Haven’t Tried It, You Should: Why Disconnecting Builds Real Connections

It may be the scariest word in our present vernacular: disconnect. It’s eerie. Bogged down with questions: How will people reach me? What if something important happens? How will I connect?  Our connection to the digital world – the Internet, our iPhone apps, all-consuming social media networks – they have become how we define ourselves: “I […]

World

Lab-Grown Penises Will Soon Be Ready To Be Tested On Humans

It’s only a matter of time before men who have lost their penises or suffer from erectile dysfunction will have a savior in artificially engineered replacements, researchers say. According to the Guardian, scientists at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine say they are five years away from testing bioengineered penises with human subjects. […]