It may seem complicated and unnecessary, but growing food on Mars to feed people on Earth is NASA’s next goal. Scientists have already conducted soil analyses to determine the best areas for potato crops.
The International Potato Center has recently disclosed that they want to grow potatoes on Mars to show Earth residents just how strong these plants really are. Potatoes can resist even in the harshest conditions, which is why scientists think they should be brought to poor regions on Earth.
Here is the moment when we should stop for a minute, take a step back from our strain of thoughts and ponder. The International Potato Center (IPC) is spending huge amounts of money to grow potatoes on Mars, so they would eventually grow them in famishing Earth regions, as well. Meanwhile, children will continue to die of hunger because the IPC was not smart enough to cultivate potatoes in those areas in the first place.
One can only assume that the IPC is using this publicity stunt to raise awareness on their activity. We’re not denying the good intentions behind IPC’s initiative, it’s just that is hard to see how a million-dollar-worth study on Mars will actually reflect conditions on Earth. Even if results turn out to be positive, they won’t be relevant for conditions on Earth. In the end, new tests will have to be conducted to prove that potatoes can resist conditions on different areas on Earth.
According to Joel Ranck, the Head of Communications for IPC, the new study aims to prove people that potatoes can be grown in the most resilient places. For this reason, their next step is to study conditions on Mars and stimulate potato growth on the Red Planet.
So far, soil tests have revealed that potatoes can easily adapt on Mars. Increased levels of carbon dioxide are favorable for potatoes, so crops are expected to have large yielding in space. Carbon dioxide in space accounts for 95 percent of the atmosphere, a piece of information that researchers will most certainly take into consideration when they plan their Martian crops.
The IPC thinks the new study will help NASA researchers find a solution to provide food for human colonies on Mars. As praiseworthy as this objective may be, growing potatoes on Mars won’t necessarily help the 842 million residents on Earth, who are currently suffering from hunger.
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