Have you seen the movie The Martian with Matt Damon? It's about an astronaut that accidentally gets left behind on Mars and has to fend for himself until he is rescued including growing his own garden. How cool is it when life imitates art?

It was just announced that the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium board has voted to fund a joint project with Southern Arkansas University's chemistry department and the agriculture department to try and grow crops of vegetables in a Mars-like soil and see if they can improve the crops by adding micronutrients through types of fertilizer.

 

Pictures From Mars Rover Released
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The plan is to try growing crops of soybeans, corn, lettuce, kale, and more to see if we could live on Mars and grow food.

Dr. Adbel Bachri, dean of the College of Science and Engineering said in a press release;

The proposed research is very relevant to NASA plant researchers’ Exploration of Deep-Space Food Crops and will contribute to answering an important question: Is a Martian greenhouse possible?

 

The Sharpest View Of Mars Ever Taken From Earth
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Bachri also said that this whole program of exploring Mars on this level could lead to a possible destination for the survival of humankind in the future.

The project will include the work of undergrad students from both departments to help with the simulation of soil like Mars and grow crops. Then they would test for the presence of heavy metals in them.

NASA Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars
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According to the press release;

The soil on Mars is almost entirely made up of mineral matter with small amounts of water and no organic matter. NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, showed that the mineral matter in Martian soil comes from the weathered volcanic rock of mineralogy similar to weathered basaltic soils of volcanic origin in Hawaii.

 

The team received $50,000 from NASA funding through Arkansas Space Grant Consortium in the spring of 2023.

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