If we ever send humans to Mars, those humans are going to need a steady supply of food. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to send several months worth of sustenance along with the astronauts, which means they’ll need to learn how to farm in space.
To figure out the logistics of space farming, a group of scientists at a research station in Antarctica have been developing methods to grow plants without sun or soil. According to reports, the first batch of vegetables have been harvested.
The experiment was conducted at Germany’s Neumayer Station III near the Antarctic coast. The station set up a greenhouse to grow several different types of plants with optimized lighting, a closed water system, and controlled carbon dioxide levels.
By this first harvest, the scientists had managed to grow 8 pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers, and 70 radishes, which is probably more radishes than anyone needs. The scientists hope that by May, the greenhouse will produce around 10 pounds of vegetables per week.
That’s good news for a potential Mars mission, although of course there are plenty of other hurdles before we land a person on the Red Planet. Still, its’ good news that we can grow veggies at the end of the Earth.
Source: Associated Press