A high school student proposes two methods for growing plants on Mars

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 19 Aug, 2022

Is it your dream to cultivate plants on Mars? In an effort to uncover two Red Planet hacks, a high school student conducted a research project.

The photosynthetic bacteria in alfalfa plants may aid in the cultivation of crops on Mars, according to research conducted by a high school sophomore. Mars' soil and water are usually too harsh for crops to flourish.

As Mars is extremely expensive to send anything to, feeding personnel there will be a significant barrier for any prolonged human trip there. The soil on Mars lacks organic elements that plants need to thrive, and the water there is salty, but scientists have long tried to grow crops there.

In the new study, researchers examined ways to maximize Martian soil and water use. The researchers used volcanic boulders from hardware and fireplace stores to conduct their experiments because the soil on Mars is mainly composed of crumbled volcanic rock.

In charge of this investigation was Ames High School student Pooja Kasiviswanathan. As a child, Kasiviswanathan wondered whether life could exist in alien habitats, resulting in his interest in astrobiology.

In this soil, Alfalfa flourished as hay for cattle and grew well. It is possible to use the powder created when the researchers broke up the alfalfa plants as fertilizer to encourage the growth of lettuce, turnips, and radishes in the normally arid soil on Mars.

In an interview with, research co-author and biogeochemist Elizabeth Swanner told the publication, 'I find it most astonishing that we were able to grow alfalfa without any nutrients.' The use of Alfalfa to fertilize the regolith may help food plants grow that normally would not thrive there thrive.

In addition, the researchers discovered a marine bacteria strain called Synechococcus sp. The chemical PCC 7002 is commonly used in saltwater desalination facilities on Earth, but also successfully removes salt from salty water on Mars.

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