Once again, it is exemplified that fiction can become a reality. It was only two years ago when The Martian, a Twentieth Century movie production, amazed an entire world about how a human was able to live on the Red Planet for several months. The main survival technique that helped the protagonist a lot was a potato farm. It seems that the movie was not far from reality after all. A new experiment revealed that a Mars production of potatoes is actually possible.
The International Potato Center (IPC) based in Lima is in full preparations for an ongoing experiment. Scientists wanted to discover whether or not Mars can grow potatoes. Despite the cruel conditions that make any signs of life almost impossible, it turns out that the inhospitable environment is not so infernal after all.
The experiment took place in a sealed container. What is special about this box is that it simulates Martian weather conditions. Scientists tried to recreate the same specs such as air pressure, temperature, carbon dioxide, and oxygen levels. The modular satellite got the name of CubeSalt, and it is currently growing a special potato.
A research member, Julio Valdivia-Silva, highlighted the importance of this experiment. The small modular cube was created to simulate the same conditions that define Mars. If such a crop can defy all odds and grow inside CubeSalt, then it means that the same plant can thrive on the Red Planet as well. Moreover, there are going to be further experiments. Each of them is going to test the qualities of several types of these tuberous plants. Researchers want to pick the best crop, so they are ready when the time comes to start a potato farm on Mars.
While the scenario in The Martian was accurate from a scientific point of view, the main character preferred to recreate an Earth-like greenhouse for his crops. However, this new experiment shows that potatoes are strong enough to resist in Martian climate. The best feature when it comes to potatoes is that they have a fantastic genetic capacity. This enables them to adapt to almost any kind of medium, be it a dry and salty one.
Potatoes are not just great for their durability, but for other benefits as well. They are the best crops that can render the best caloric share per land area. Thus, people are getting more calories from a smaller farming space. The results of this experiment can also help the parts of Earth that are affected by climate change.
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