Researchers grow potato in lab simulating harsh Mars climate

Researchers grow potato in lab simulating harsh Mars climate

Researchers at a lab in the Peruvian capital of Lima have successfully grown a potato in an experiment mimicking the harsh conditions found on Mars.

The researchers created a simulator with temperatures below zero, high concentrations of carbon monoxide and air pressure similar to that found at an altitude of 6,000 meters. In other words, they tried to grow a vegetable in conditions similar to those of the red Planet.

Results of the first of its kind experiment at the Lima-based International Potato Centre means the vegetables could be grown on Mars sometime in the future, enabling humans to colonize the Red Planet.

However, the results could benefit not only Mars exploration missions in the future, but also arid areas on Earth that are already experiencing the impact of climate change.

Julio Valdivia, an astrobiologist with Peru’s University of Engineering & Technology, “It’s not only about bringing potatoes to Mars, but also finding a potato that can resist non-cultivable areas on Earth.”

The experiment was started last year, around a year after the Hollywood film “The Martian” depicted how a stranded astronaut on the Red Planet survived by working out how to grow potatoes under really hostile conditions.


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