Apart from making the red planet habitable for human life to sustain there, the scientists have now discovered a novel way to grow potato on Mars.
Potato: the first crop to be grown on Mars
The scientists have observed that potato crop can be cultivated on Mars that can allow humans to farm there. Unlike other crops, potatoes can grow even in severe conditions such as dry environments. The crop grown there can fulfill 10 percent of calorie required daily.
The crop comes in many different varieties but scientists have discovered a specific category that is capable of sustaining on the red planet.
Researchers from International Potato Center along with scientists from NASA and engineers from University of Engineering and Technology in Lima has carried out an experiment to determine the factors that will lead to the growth of potato on Mars. They also found a specific variety that will sustain low temperatures and a large amount of carbon dioxide present there.
The conducted experiment
The researchers have simulated the Martian environment inside a CubeSat satellite. The environment similar to Mars like below-zero temperatures, a large proportion of carbon monoxide and air pressure was developed inside this satellite.
The system that simulates the day and night was also created. Cameras were fitted to capture the things like growth of potato bud inside the satellite.
Researchers planted the tubers in the soil and then sealed these into the CubeSat that supplies water rich in nutrients. The researchers have cultivated 65 varieties of potatoes amongst which only 4 have sprouted from the soil. Of the total 65 varieties of potato that the researchers planted, four sprouted from the soil.
Later on, researchers discovered the winning potato species that was unique. The species was known as Valdivia-Silva which was known super potato that was able to resist severe conditions.
In future researchers plan to build three more potato simulators to achieve concrete results.