The prospect of humans getting to Mars is now very real, with SpaceX even saying that they are aiming to do it by 2030.
However, perhaps the biggest obstacle in colonising the Red Planet is the fact that it’s dusty land is void of nutrients, making it extremely difficult to grow crops.
Nonetheless a team of experts have now established the perfect foods and even the best way to grow them on Mars.
Stefania De Pascale, professor of horticulture at the University Federico II of Naples, has been assigned by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to design a system that will support agriculture on Earth’s next door neighbour.
Professor De Pascale explained that an enclosed ecosystem, maybe such as a dome, will be needed and that the people on Mars will have to use their own faeces and urine to help the crops grow.
Furthermore, the chosen crops, rice, potatoes, wheat and soy, are essential to human nutrition.
Not only will the food help to sustain the people, but it will also be used for oxygen and water regeneration.
Speaking at the D-Nest International Inventors Exhibition in Venice, Professor De Pascale said: “Growing these plants will have a dual function: provide food and regenerate air and water in the colonies.
“Thanks to the European research project “Melissa”, we have been working for years selecting crops, adapting cultivation techniques and developing methods for collecting and storing products.”
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have managed to grow crops but the technique used on Mars “will be more similar to the ones we see on Earth than those seen so far on the International Space Station because there is gravity on Mars, even if it is only 40 per cent of the Earth’s gravity.”
He continued that it would be possible for Martian soil “to be amended with the use of organic waste, food scraps or waste from the same crops, but also modified faeces and urine, as we have seen in the film ‘The Martian’.”