How about having potato mash in Mars? It may not only be in the movies, it could also be possible in real life.

With the U.S. Congress urging the space agency to reach Mars by 2033 when it passed the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 bill, colonizing the Red Planet is already on the to-do list of the space scientists.

Now, a NASA-backed experiment has shown it is possible to grow potatoes and other crops on the martian surface.

Experiment Results Positive

To simulate the environment of Mars, NASA and the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru conducted the "Potatoes on Mars" experiment last month in Pampas de la Joya desert.

The researchers dumped barren soil on the desert and planted a tuber inside a box called CubeSat. They filmed the whole duration of the experiment to see what will happen.

Inside the CubeSat is where the simulation of Mars' surface takes place. Pumps and water hoses were rigged into the box; LED lights and instruments imitate the temperature, air pressure, gases, and day and night light cycles.

Initial results of the experiment are promising, according to a CIP statement.

"If the crops can tolerate the extreme conditions that we are exposing them to in our CubeSat, they have a good chance to grow on Mars," NASA researcher Julio Valdivia-Silva said.

Several similar experiments will be conducted to determine the kinds of potatoes that will grow best on Martian surface.

The scientists wanted to know "what the minimum conditions are that a potato needs to survive."

CubeSat Is Not Mars, So Will It Work?

The experiment is no guarantee that potatoes will actually grow on the actual Martian surface.

The soil in the experiment might have contained organisms needed to nourish the life of a potato.

Since tubers were used instead of seeds, the potato cuttings exposed to radiation may not survive the long journey to the Red Planet.

The whole prospect, however, is positive that potatoes and other crops may grow on Mars.

Growing Veg-01

Martian soil is not totally sterile, according to NASA.

It has been found that soil on Mars has the nutrients needed by plants to grow; however, the amount may not be enough. To mitigate this deficiency, the application of fertilizer may do wonder.

Inside the International Space Station, NASA simulated the Martian soil and grew some vegetables. In near-zero gravity conditions, astronauts on the orbiting lab harvested "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce on Aug. 10, 2015.

NASA's plant experiment on board the orbiting lab dubbed Veg-01 was aimed at developing a technology to grow crops and vegetables which may provide food for pioneers as the space agency continues its journey to Mars.

Growing plants on Mars, with these promising experiments, may not be as impossible as before.

Here Are Other Crops

In an experiment conducted by Wageningen University, the researchers were able to grow 10 crops on soil and conditions that closely resemble with that of Mars.

These crops include tomato, rye, radish, pea, leek, spinach, garden rocket, cress, quinoa, and chives.

It appears that the dream of having a Martian colony is getting closer now.

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