Dutch researchers are learning how to grow food on Mars and the Moon



**ESTABLISHING a human colony on the Moon and travelling to Mars has been the stuff of dreams since the dawn of the space age.

But these visions face many hurdles. How can humans survive for months or years in the ultra-hostile environment of space? What, for instance, will they eat?

Agricultural researchers at a Dutch university say they are taking the first steps towards providing an answer.

They are growing vegetables in soils similar to those found on the Moon and Mars, looking for ways of helping space pioneers grow their own crops.

“When people go to the Moon and Mars they also have to eat, and it’s easiest for them to grow their own food,” said Wieger Wamelink, surrounded by several dozen plants in a special greenhouse at Wageningen, an agricultural university in central Netherlands.**

This article continues at the link.





Yeah, that’s what I say! :slight_smile: It reminds me of the idea to de-desertify the North Sahara using Salicornia and other plants that can be grown entirely with salt water. In the case of the Sahara, a system of irrigation using seawater would need to be implemented, in the case of Mars or the Moon different hurdles exist. Perhaps cacti could be crossed with something edible, or perhaps classic desert crops like date palms and olive trees could be genetically altered to work. I’ve seen vineyards in the desert before.:shrug:


I remember reading that, during the Roman era in North Africa, one could ride his horse from Tunis to Tripoli without ever leaving the shade of olive trees; something that isn’t true today.

Imaginably the difference is due to centuries-long climate change. But perhaps it’s only mismanagement. It has been said that in the Middle East, the Arab invaders “brought the desert with them”. I have read, by way of another example, that Federal land acquisitions in the west have only served to desertify the areas acquired because they rigorously enforce what they think are “natural conditions” that really only amount to severe neglect.

Now, one does not hold out a great deal of hope for greening the Sahara any time soon, other than on the edges. But the fact that Israelis have, through science and immense effort, turned many desert areas into farms and gardens (as was the case in Roman times) one is inclined to think many of the world’s deserts could bloom if sufficient effort was made.


I remember researching on Salicornia farming for southern Iraq. Boy, the State Department and USAID wouldn’t have none of it.


I’ve seen on 3 continents how desertified soil can grow anything if you bring in the H[sub]2[/sub]O.

The Israelis have turned this into an art form. But just across the Palestinian border, the green orchards of Jerusalem turn to dust.

Maybe we are to green the earth first, and then when we have our everlasting bodies (which will not need spacesuits) we will know how to do it on Mars.



And justifiably so to their minds. Why garden a warzone?



Interesting. Where did you see that about Federal Western land?



Yeah, Israeli is a great example. Palestinians are deprived of just water rights, but that aside, Israel has done an amazing job.

What they really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.:hmmm:

But if they can’t find someone who speaks Botchi, they should do something like this.

I think I’d try and do something like that if I had property.


That’s interesting, I didn’t realize the U.S. government had ever really looked at that.

Any idea why they didn’t go for it? Was it just money, or something?

It seems like growing edible crops in the desert is win-win for everybody.:shrug:


The commanders on the ground and everyone else in the State Department wanted something that we could show results to Washington in months or quarters not in years. So, we built fish farms, fish markets, and greenhouse farms. Yes, the results were good and everyone received kudos and good write-up. But in actuality, we did more harm to their ag sector than helping it. No one cared if the Iraqis wanted or knew anything about aquaculture or greenhouse farming.

Today, Iraq doesn’t have a good agricultural economy. Everything has to be imported from Iran or Turkey. I saw that with my own eyes at Shalamched border crossing.


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