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Can We Grow Plant in MARS?

Most likely you have watched “The Martian” movie in which Mark Watney grow potato in the Martian (Mars) soil inside the controlled environment made by plastic. In a first glance, it seems very fictional movie, but I learned that what we see on many fictional movies, usually (not always) refers to reality and science.

The Martian is one of them. In reality, Mars soil have many nutrients that a plant tree needs to grow. There may not optimum amount of nutrient for plant growth, but fertilizer can fix the deficiency.

One of the daily food for astronauts in International Space Station is fresh food in microgravity environment. For example, they harvested their “outredgeous” red romaine lettuce Monday, Aug 10, from the Veggie plant growth system on the nation’s orbiting laboratory.

Although it is possible to grow plant in Mars soil, there are many barriers like unfavorable environmental condition for plants to survive on Mars. For example, Mars receives about half of the sunlight we get on Earth, but much higher levels of harmful ultraviolet (UV). The surface temperature of Mars is about -60℃. water on Mars mostly exists in the form of ice, and the low atmospheric pressure of the planet makes liquid water boil at around 5℃. So, the only option to grow plants on Mars is developing the next generation of crops specifically for Mars.

Last word: until we can grow plants on Mars, it is better to keep our planet safe and functional.

Essential Plant Nutrients found on Mars Soil
Macronutrients Micronutrients
 Oxygen (O)  Iron (Fe)
 Carbon (C)  Manganese (Mn)
 Hydrogen (H)  Zinc (Zn)
 Nitrogen (N)  Copper (Cu)
 Potassium (K)  Molybdenum (Mo)
 Phosphorus (P)  Boron (B)
 Calcium (Ca)  Chlorine (Cl)
 Magnesium (Mg)
 Sulfur (S)