As you know, the soil for good agriculture must contain a rich arsenal of minerals and organic substances. Despite the fact that the Martian soil contains many different minerals, it lacks the second important component – organic matter – extremely. So that future earthly colonists can begin a rather tedious process of plant growth on the rusty surface of another planet, scientists have found a new way to enrich the Martian soil, the portal newatlas.com says. For example, human urine can be a wonderful fertilizer that is available to every researcher in the foreign world.
How do I grow a plant on Mars?
Curious humanity has made many attempts to grow plants in simulations of extremely harsh conditions on other planets. In 2016, scientists from the Netherlands took the first steps to cultivate food crops in simulations of the lunar and mars soil. At that time, experts from the University of Wangeningen discovered that the plants they planted only felt really good on terrestrial soil, but that their condition improved considerably after fertilizer from freshly cut grass was added to the soil used.
Unfortunately, the Red Planet is not famous for its lush lawns, and growing flowers and herbs in greenhouses on Mars would require a large amount of liquid water and free space. In this knowledge, the researchers recently drew attention to struvite – one of the phosphate minerals that are extracted from human urine in modern sewage treatment plants.
During a series of greenhouse experiments, the researchers planted bean seeds in 60 different pots, which were filled with either imitated lunar or Mars soil, or ordinary soil for flowering plants. Half of the pots also contained up to 15 grams of struvite, while others had no significant fertilizer. In addition, during the test, all test plants were automatically watered under the same temperature conditions in a specially designed greenhouse.
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As the seeds germinated, the scientists controlled their further growth rate. Scientists found that all plants fertilized with struvite had the most striking development indicators and that the plants that grew on lunar and land soils could grow with a relatively large margin.
The "Mars" plants fertilized with struvite ultimately also yielded a good bean harvest, although they did this a week later compared to the others. Nevertheless, the researchers are confident that their growth rate can be significantly increased if fertilizers from human faeces are used in combination with struvite. A similar solution has already been used by the main character of the film "The Martian" by Ridley Scott, and perhaps the idea proposed by the film's screenwriters could really help solve the problem for future Mars astronauts, at least in the first stages of our presence on the planet To provide the planet with the necessary amount of fresh food.
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However, in the future, the Mars colonies could develop more practical methods for growing crops. Or maybe one day we'll give it up entirely? On the Hi-News website, we have already written that the next generation of Erdlings can eat bread from the air or full (almost) meat from a test tube.