Millions of people around the world daydream about the mysteries of space and a privileged few even get to board shuttles set for the International Space Station. Scientists routinely test the effects of low gravity on earth matter, and space food has long been a topic of interest for the denizens of earth that remain firmly tethered to the ground.
Astronauts have to be very careful about what they eat on board space craft because stray crumbs can potentially cause a celestial disaster rather than merely lure ants from a windowsill. Until recently, the idea of a cosmonaut harvesting Martian vegetables was something you’d certainly classify as a “risk”, one that would likely occur in a made-for-TV sci-fi thriller.
However, recent studies have shown that growing edible food on other planets has some plausibility. Scientists have created a replica of soil that imitates the same red dust coating Mars, complete with heavy metals. While more research and peer review is needed to verify the legitimacy of eating hypothetical crops grown on Mars, it would seem that food can still be viable despite the harshness of the ground it calls home.
As our own world becomes more dense with pollution, farming in outer space seems like a fantasy that may one day bleed necessity. Since we’re quite a ways off from conquering foreign planetary objects, this new research may at least tie into helping people farm supposedly barren land. Making ravaged, dry land viable is certainly something many communities would benefit from.