A plan to grow plants on Mars and turn it into a green planet.
Author: Peter Blunt
Plants need the same basic elements to survive on Mars as they do on Earth, including soil, water, food, and sunlight. However, since there is no soil on Mars, researchers have turned to a more visible element on the Red Planet: volcanic basalt. The researchers added a type of bacteria known as Synechococcus to make the water less salty, and their study found that while the bacteria significantly reduce the salt levels in the water, it still isn’t enough for the plant to consume. The team found they could further desalinate the water by filtering it through basalt rock. This freshly filtered water is now clean enough to grow plants. The researchers said: “The effect of biologically filtered desalinated water on the growth of turnip and radish plants in a rich basalt soil modeled after treated basalt soil was evaluated.” “Both turnips and radishes were grown in a healthy way using biofiltered desalinated water compared to plants grown with unfiltered biowater,” they added. This also resulted in a significant increase in dry weight of grown turnip plants (278%) and fresh weight of radish bulbs (1047%).