For as long as mankind has ruled the Earth, there has been some type of farming to produce food. The basic necessities are commonly recognized as soil, water, and sunlight in order for a seed to thrive and grow. NASA researchers are working on the ability to create a viable solution for growing plants outside of the Earth’s perfect conditions. The project is called Food for Mars and Moon.
In the study, scientists created used “Mars-like” soil and silver sand and then added a Mars soil stimulant that included manure. The results were exciting, not only were the plants able to grow in what would probably be considered adverse conditions to any traditional farmer, but there was an additional surprise that researchers did not expect but were thrilled to discover. Two earthworms were found in the Mars-like soil. This is the very first recorded example of reproduction in a Mars-like simulation.
The purpose of this study is clear, NASA is planning for a future that may include civilization on our moon or the planet Mars. There are no current known food sources outside of Earth which is the primary concern after breathable air and safe conditions for any interplanetary habitation. Initial testing showed that with the addition of pig manure the Mars-like soil outperformed the silver sand from Earth. This may seem like a small, insignificant result, but it opens the doors to further studies and, possibly, eventual success in farming on another planet.
Project Food for Mars and Moon is self-explanatory. NASA scientists are working to find an effective solution to growing food outside of Earth in unfavorable conditions in order to sustain long-term human life. Initial findings suggest that with the help of a Mars soil stimulant plants can be grown. Further studies will continue research with a special focus on how earthworms were able to reproduce under Mars-like conditions. One day, if a new civilization in erected on another planet these findings will have provided crucial help in long-term sustainability.