Scientists representing the American space Agency NASA, will try to find out whether the cultivation of potatoes on the red planet a real prospect and not a dream of the authors of science fiction movies. For this, the researchers will try to plant this plant near the city of Lima, capital of Peru. Here, from the point of view of scientists, you can create conditions as close to Mars.
Still from the film “the Martian”
In the experiment, the researchers will try to plant about a hundred of the most “picky” of potato varieties. More than half of half of these varieties have been selected geneticists — they have been modified in a way that demanded little of the nutrient salts and water, as well as acquired immunity to the virus. Other originally grew in the Andes, that is, can grow on stony soil in arid areas and tolerate drastic climate changes. Scientists have examined only about 4.5 thousand varieties, reports Phys.org.
To carry out the following verification in order to figure out which varieties of potatoes are there chances to grow on Mars, experts will drop them off in the Peruvian Atacama desert where you will install the greenhouse, the air inside of which will be similar to the atmosphere of Mars, i.e., including, deprived of oxygen. Successful experiment will be considered in case the potato will not only survive and grow, but will give a decent harvest. However, according to scientists, they have almost no doubt that some varieties are quite fine with it.
The potato is one of the oldest plants ever cultivated by man. The first evidence of their cultivation dates back to around 2,500 BC, and, coincidentally, grew them on the territory of modern Peru. The experiment is expected to last for one to two years.
In the coming years, NASA plans to build in the Peruvian desert centre of Martian studies. It will be exact replica of the Martian landscape and atmosphere that will more effectively test the plants for future Martian farmers.