Growing Asparagus on Mars

According to Mars Daily, Martian Soil Good Enough For Asparagus:

Washington DC (AFP) Jun 27, 2008 Martian dirt is apparently good enough for asparagus to grow in, NASA scientists said Thursday, as they announced the results of a soil analysis collected by the US Phoenix Mars lander. “There is nothing about the soil that would preclude life. In fact it seems very friendly,” said Samuel Kounaves, the project’s lead chemist at the University of Arizona in a telephone press conference.

“The soil you have there is the type of soil you have in your backyard,” said Kounaves. “You may be able to grow asparagus very well.”

The analysis is based on a cubic centimeter of soil scooped up by the lander’s robotic arm and introduced into one of its eight ovens, where it was gradually heated up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Kounaves said his team was “flabbergasted” at the results that came back.

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements of the nutrients to support life, past, present or future,” said Kounaves.

MSNBC.com reports that while it would be good for asparagus growing, it wouldn’t do well for strawberries. The soil is a bit too alkaline.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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5 Responses to Growing Asparagus on Mars

  1. Don the Baptist says:

    I’m underwealmed.

  2. Don the Baptist says:

    Allow me to elucidate: IT’S DIRT. I think we all expected it to be DIRT. I mean, unless we assume Mars was a product of some OTHER nebulae. In which case I’m sure it would still be DIRT.

    Question is: were there any nutrients in the dirt? Was it soil? How about evidence of earthworm (MARSworm?) activity?

    THAT would be impressive.

  3. R.P. Nettelhorst says:

    Actually, that is what is interesting about the analysis: it is soil, with nutrients that are compatible with life rather than chemicals hostile to it. That’s what they were testing for and had wondered about: would it be possible for something to live in this dirt. The answer is yes; which is startling. All you need to do is add water.

  4. R.P. Nettelhorst says:

    It needs to be pointed out that stuff won’t grow in lunar soil without the addition of nutrients. What’s interesting about Mars is that it will grow stuff as is.

  5. Don the Baptist says:

    Thenk Yew!

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