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Astrogarden Rover: How Can We Design a Garden for Mars?

With incredible advances in space exploration, the idea of harvesting crops and planting gardens in space is leaving the realm of science fiction and becoming a reality. Research in astrobiology, a.k.a. “space biology,” has shown us that certain seeds can be grown in soils similar to those found on Mars (which exist in many locations across the Earth) and even in ground-up meteorites.


With incredible advances in space exploration, the idea of harvesting crops and planting gardens in space is leaving the realm of science fiction and becoming a reality. Research in astrobiology, a.k.a. “space biology,” has shown us that certain seeds can be grown in soils similar to those found on Mars (which exist in many locations across the Earth) and even in ground-up meteorites. Plants need liquid water, oxygen, sunlight, nutrients and fertilizers, and comfortable temperatures, and although many of these are not currently found on Mars, this does not mean plants cannot grow there. The re-design of simple Earth objects such as gardening tools and greenhouses, and the development of specialized systems to plant the seeds and nurture the growing plants, could allow us to grow gardens on Mars.

The environmental conditions on Mars are extreme by Earth standards, but due to giant leaps in our knowledge of the red planet over the last few decades, we can accurately design a habitat that could thrive on Mars and withstand the harsh conditions. Mars is a red and dusty world with a non-breathable thin, low pressure carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, extremely strong radiation from the Sun and very cold temperatures (an average of -63 °C!). It has 38 percent of the gravity that we have on the Earth and is ravaged by global dust storms including dust devils that tower above the largest tornadoes on the Earth.

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