Recent studies and experiments found that Potatoes can be grown even in the extreme environment of Mars, according to a new study that has implications for future manned missions to the red planet as well as helping people survive in harsh climates on Earth.
The International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth.
The Phase Two effort of CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began in February last year when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat by researchers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Peru.The CubeSat houses a container holding soil and the tuber. Inside this hermetically sealed environment the CubeSat delivers nutrient rich water, controls the temperature for Mars day and night conditions and mimics Mars air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see that potatoes we’ve bred to tolerate abiotic stress were able to produce tubers in this soil,” said CIP potato breeder Walter Amoros. The experiments have already provided good news about potato’s potential for helping people survive in extreme environments on Earth, he said.