Biomass Production of Basic Garden Plants Growing in Simulated Martian Soil

Title

Biomass Production of Basic Garden Plants Growing in Simulated Martian Soil

Authors

Presenter(s)

Amber R Delvento, Tessa L Farthing, Shelby Krumpelman, Ana D Ritz, Sophie F Yurczyk

Files

Description

Future manned missions to Mars will require that astronauts grow at least some of the food that they will eat. This project was initiated by an interest in a recent film, The Martian, in which a marooned astronaut grows potatoes in Martian soil to supplement his diet. Robotic spacecraft have been sent to Mars and have analyzed the Martian soil. Comparable soils similar to Martian soils have been found on Earth. We obtained a Martian Regolith Simulant from Orbit Tech, Inc., a subcontractor for NASA. Martian soil contains all micro and macronutrients essential to sustain plant life. Using a climate controlled environment chamber, seeds of radishes, peas, and lettuce were grown in Earth garden soil or simulant Martian soil. Eight seedlings of each species, four of which were planted in earth topsoil, and four of which were planted in Martian soil. A balanced liquid fertilizer was applied to half of the plants. At the end of eight weeks, the biomass of targeted edible biomass was measured. The results will be useful in determining the possibility of growing food on Mars.

Publication Date

4-5-2017

Project Designation

Capstone Project - Undergraduate

Primary Advisor

Jerome C Servaites

Primary Advisor's Department

Biology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Biomass Production of Basic Garden Plants Growing in Simulated Martian Soil

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