Researchers grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions

Researchers grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions

A series of experiments by the International Potato Center (CIP) has revealed that potatoes can grow under atmospheric conditions of Mars, the Red Planet where scientists are trying to establish human colonies.

CIP researchers successfully grew potatoes in simulated Martian conditions. In the second phase of the experiment, which started on Feb. 14 last year, the researchers planted a tuber in an especially designed and constructed CubeSat.

The CubeSat was developed by a team of engineers from University of Engineering & Technology (UTEC) in Lima. Its design was provided by the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s Ames Research Center, which is based in California.

Julio Valdivia-Silva, a research associate with the SETI Institute who now works at UTEC, said that preliminary results of the experiment are positive.

Sharing the results of their experiment, Valdivia-Silva said, “Growing crops under Mars-like conditions is an important phase of this experiment. 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.”

Now researchers are planning more rounds of experiments to determine which varieties of potato can do best under Martian conditions. Growing food on Mars will be one of the biggest challenges for scientists who are trying to establish human colonies on the Red Planet.