Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by editor, Mar 9, 2017.
Good news for Matt Damon! Potatoes can grow on Mars | TechRadar
It's true I remember the Smash adverts!
TV never lies.
Carl Sagan argued that Mars had a similar temperature to Antarctica on a cold day. Therefore it is feasible to sow lichen seeds across Mars by remote means and eventually an atmosphere containing oxygen would develop. Although this might be a fairly long wait.
That's great news ...
I thought it got down to something like -73 even in the Martian tropics at night, they can grow potatoes in that?
Potatoes will grow almost anywhere.....bar Ireland in 1845...
So no time travelling backwards en route to Mars..
How hard would it be to ask for a bag of chips whilst wearing a spacesuit?
Dreams of Martian mash...
Not as hard as eating a chippy mars on mars.
Bad joke that didn't even make sense. Lalala
the one thing i can't bloody eat!! they'll have to do better than that if they want me to visit!
not just me then
'The International Potato Centre'
The average global temperature of Mars is -60C. On a favourable midsummer day at the equator, it might reach 20C. But the thin atmosphere (1% that of Earth) means that heat radiates away rapidly after sunset, with night-time temperatures dropping to around -100C.
The researchers seem to be obfuscating about what I infer they have actually done: make a pressurised and insulated greenhouse, water it, and and pressurise it with CO2 up to a reasonable level. mixing in the small amount of Oxygen that plants also require.
No description of the "soil". Mars lacks humus-type soil, the regolith is but completely inorganic rock dust, laced with highly oxidising perchlorates. To make it a suitable substrate, it must be sieved, neutralised, and mixed with at least some organic matter - probably dehydrated sewage solids.
For all these reasons, most researchers expect Martian agriculture be hydroponic, easier to set up and control.
I that scientifically the chances of anything growing on Mars are a million to one.
If there is no hummus on Mars, you can count me out
I'm pretty sure they were trying to more or less replicate Martian conditions; there's a caption near the beginning of the video in the OP which states:
Isn't this one of those stories where the headline rather oversells the reality?
"Potatoes can grow on Mars". No, they can't.
"Potatoes can grow on Mars under specially engineered conditions". Yes, they can.
You can grow anything on Mars, it's just a question of how much technological intervention is required to make the environment conducive to agriculture. Even if all you have to do is provide nutrient rich water, that one caveat alone makes it a big challenge.
Call me a grouchy old pedant, but a headline such as "Potatoes shown to be highly promising for future cultivation on Mars" would have been better!
and why is it good news for Matt Damon? Are they planning to send him for real?
I'm sure it would've been just as good news for Matt Damon to know that potatoes have been shown to be highly promising for future cultivation on Mars.
Knowing Matt as I do, I know he too frowns on hyperbolic reporting.
The only thing mitigating against it seems to be night temps, a good greenhouse heater would solve this. I'm sure some talented ganja farmers could set up a nice automated hydro set up running off an android phone these days.
Potatoes on Mars
I think it's something of a publicity stunt, leveraging Matt Damon to promote Peruvian potatoes.
1) The partners are NASA, the International Potato Center (vested interest ?) and OgilvyOne - "the world's leading Customer Engagement agency partnering with brands around the globe to help improve customer relationships."
2) I can't find any conventional scientific results, with actual numbers, data, etc.
3) There is a lot of tactical imprecision in the language, not a scientific trait: "Everything happens inside a rocket-launchable box called a CubeSat." By there same token, I have a rocket-launchable cat. Let's just call it a "box".
4) "The CubeSat delivers nutrient-rich water, and controls the temperature, air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to mimic Mars." Light levels are also mentioned. And the similarity of the soil. But are they talking about Mars ambient conditions or those in a heavily engineered greenhouse ? The carefully-phrased prose is just too ambiguous to tell.
5) It is unarguable however, that plants cannot survive out in the open, for these reasons:
- it's always far below freezing point
- Martian regolith is more hostile than the Peruvian soil simulant used (notably because of perchlorates)
- atmospheric pressure is 1% of Earth's, and is effectively devoid of oxygen, which is required for plant metabolism
- lack of ozone layer allows high levels of UV radiation to reach the surface
- thin atmosphere and lack of magnetic field allow high levels of ionising radiation to reach surface
- sunlight is less than half as strong as Earth's
- seasons are about twice as long as Earth's
- liquid water cannot exist on Martian surface - it sublimates immediately due to low atmospheric pressure
The NASA honcho, Chris McKay (the top Martian terraforming expert) refers in his video only to greenhouse cultivation, which is the generally accepted model, but hardly a novel idea.
The question has to be asked:
Is "nutrient-rich water" a euphemism for astronaut piss?
Beaten to it, but I'll post it anyway:
At least there'll be vodka...
and chips! human civilisation therefore possible on Mars.
they are. I'm sure that's how it works, right?
No chance of Martian Bangers and Mash without a little help from the chaps in Waterloo
It has been declared illegal to grow potatoes in Galicia (Spain) this year due to the spread of a South American white moth. Seriously. Possibly an unforseen consequence of globalisation and global warming. They reached mainland Spain via the Canaries and are spreading rapidly. Keen fondness for King Edwards and Northern European varieties which have been banned from the Canaries. You are only allowed to plant resistant varieties in the Canaries with all seeds locally sourced from verified suppliers.
If we ever do colonise, or exploit other planets, what are the odds we fuck them up with our Capitalist ways within a couple of years?
Separate names with a comma.