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The Ares III crew was going to be on Mars for Thanksgiving, so he had a dozen potatoes that were meant to be cooked for their Thanksgiving meal. In The Martian, a stranded NASA astronaut is forced to turn a planned four-week mission on the surface of Mars … Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the our 24/7 digital news network. Growing potatoes and other food on Mars is not just a sci-fi curiosity. The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. But after two weeks, the seeds in the Martian-like dirt failed to break through. Kreuze also shared a personal confession: When he was a kid, he really wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. (Giles Keyte/Twentieth Century Fox/Thinkstock) Potatoes on Mars is the first half of the fifty-first episode of Ready Jet Go! When CBS News visited a Lima greenhouse last month, potato seeds planted in ideal, earthly soil had already sprouted. Here we're in the tropics, all the way to the polar circle," Kreuze explained. Food for Mars: Green beans and potatoes by Natasha Schön on Tuesday, 19th July 2016 in Food for Mars, People, Wieger Wamelink. Stored oxygen would have to be on hand to make up the difference. Bugbee, who runs the Crop Physiology Lab at Utah State University, has been studying how to grow food crops on spaceships for NASA for the last 30 years. And it might be a problem for the seeds to push through that and get oxygen and things like that.". The Pampas de La Joya desert in Southern Peru is harsh and arid and as close as it gets on our blue planet to the red one next door. In order to stay alive, Mark shovelled in Martian dirt into The Hab, mixed it with human 'waste' and, according to the book, a small sample of earth soil so that the earth bacteria, nutrients and other stuff soil contains could multiply. Despite never saying it explicitly in the novel on which the film is based, author Andy Weir has revealed that "The Martian" is set in the near future; the NASA crew lands on Mars in November 2035. In less than two weeks, NASA will test what it calls the "largest, most powerful" booster rocket in the world in the Utah desert. The Hab. Earth and Mars are similar because there is a possibility for life to be on Mars or for people to live on Mars. "They were actually growing potatoes throughout the course of the movie," Damon said. "Let's say you're Mark Watney and everything is in balance on Mars for you, and now two people come for dinner," Bugbee says. An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. And how big are the windstorms, anyway? "But there's no reason he couldn't use the soil of the planet," Bugbeehe says of Watney. The Movie. 'The Martian': Can You Really Grow Potatoes on Mars? But the premise is sound, Mars is like Iceland and they can grow potatoes on Iceland (though, with a bit of help from the abundant geothermal heat they have there). The entrepreneur told The Washington Post this month his ultimate goal is a "self-sustaining city on Mars." In The Martian (2015) we see the protagonist planting potatoes in soil that he dug out from the surface of Mars.. Wouldn't the soil be incapable of sustaining life for the potatoes (let alone giving it nutrition)? That includes, of course, human waste. Kreuze and his team have a lot of options. If you see the soil, it's almost like -- it's very dusty, so it's almost like a cement," Kreuze said. Yes, it is possible to grow plants on Mars – kind of. What If Viking Really Did Find Life on Mars? Find him online at michaelbelfiore.com. We have more earthy goals in mind," Kreuze said. She came up with the idea after seeing “The Martian,” the sci-fi movie in which actor Matt Damon plays a potato-growing astronaut trapped on Mars. Can You Tell Which One of These Is Actually a TV. Growing potatoes on Mars can be feasible as the basic mineral content of the soil is adequate, the shelter shown in the movie is quite realistic too. Regular potatoes, close relatives to the poisonous tobacco and nightshade plants, can't be eaten raw and have highly toxic leaves. All he has are the rations, and the crops he’s already grown, which he estimates to be about 400 plants, with an average of 5 potatoes per plant. According to Bugbee, an important detail here is that Watney doesn't just dump the waste right onto the plants. Aside from bringing along an extra crop or two—say, some salad greens—he'd grow the plants using hydroponics instead of Martian soil, or regolith, as Watney does. "Are you nuts? A vast plain dotted with dunes, molded by centuries of unforgiving wind and little rain, is Mars on Earth. Technically, Mark Watney wasn't growing plants on Mars,the Red planet.He grew his potatoes in an artificially controlled environment,which was more “Earth” like. He burned rocket fuel using Martinez ' wooden crucifix/cross in order to create water and then grew some potatoes. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Dry Ice Avalanches Caught on Camera by a Mars Orbiter, This Is How We'll Explore Mars Over the Next Decade, Here Are the 5 Best and the 5 Worst Movies About Mars, A Brief Timeline of How We've Imagined Martians, 'Martian' Author Andy Weir Figured Out Faster-Than-Light Travel for His New Novel. I wonder, because I think the soil would have been exposed to too much sun light and rays that might make it radioactive. Watney, of course, could only dream of having guests over dinner. How accurate is the science behind "The Marti... Director Ridley Scott on "The Martian" and wa... California Privacy/Information We Collect. Can You Actually Grow Potatoes on Mars? Watney, whose character is played by actor Matt Damon, later engineers a way to grow potatoes on Mars and remarks, "I am the greatest botanist on this planet." Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. The Martian, a 2011 novel by Andy Weir, served as the screenplay adapted by Drew Goddard.The film depicts an astronaut's lone struggle to survive And for that, Musk's Martians will need food. (Newser) – If you've seen The Martian, you might think it's totally possible to grow potatoes on Mars. Lately, we have been hearing a lot of news on the life on MARS. Now, a NASA-backed “Potatoes on Mars” experiment is showing that Watney’s fictional feat might actually be possible. But dust storms on Mars can still be dangerous: they impair visibility and, crucially, reduce your ability to harvest solar energy. He mixes it in with the Martian soil, plants some potatoes that NASA had sent up with his crew, and, voila, you have plant life on Mars. This eventually grows him enough food to last hundreds of days. "As he says, 'I'm growing stuff in my own shit.'" Instead of cultivating the soil over time, movie-Watney planted a spoonful of rehydrated human poop next to each piece of potato. So yeah, that's why the potatoes in the film look REAL. In 2015, Matt Damon reprised his role of “confused Boston actor” in the sci-fi film The Martian. It … It's a pretty big challenge, but it's not impossible. Bugbee figures three or four crops will have to do. The project is more than someone’s flight of fancy; crops that can grow on Mars would find some of Earth’s inhospitable habitats downright cozy. His only chance to have enough food to last until he's rescued is to turn his habitat into a space farm, using the only crop he has available: potatoes. Villanova University. That's a tremendous challenge." There’s just one problem that Weir didn’t address, because he didn’t know about when he wrote the novel: Martian soil has perchlorates, a type of salt that’s hazardous to the human body. Dr. Julio Valdivia-Silva is an astro-biologist working there for NASA. By far the biggest challenge a real-life Watney would face is closure. Originally Answered: Can we really grow plants on Mars as they show in the movie Martian? He fertilizes the plants with human waste and creates liquid water out of rocket fuel. Participants watch the movie and are then challenged to raise potatoes in grow bags. It’s rare that the world’s potato scientists get a chance to weigh in on a pop culture item, since their favorite little tuber rarely plays a role in Game Of Thrones or a superhero movie. That's no longer a tall pole in the tent." After accidentally being stranded and with dwindling supplies, Damon's character, a botanist, figures out how to grow potatoes on Mars. As for the movie itself, Bugbee says, "I hope it really catches on because it helps explain what we do in agriculture on the earth and how essential it is. You just might be right. The U.S. space agency has launched a program to land humans there in about 15 years. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Growing potatoes on Mars could be a reality one day if a research center's attempt to cultivate the crop in Martian-like conditions goes well. An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. We also have enormous buffers in the form of the oceans. In 2015, Matt Damon reprised his role of “confused Boston actor” in the sci-fi film The Martian. "Every speck of everything has to be recycled. That's why we're doing these experiments," Kreuze said. He decides to grow potatoes, jerry-rigging a climate-controlled dome, burning hydrazine to make water and creating a growth medium from Mars dust supplemented by his crewmates’ faeces. "There's no reason he couldn't use the soil of the planet.". ", "Well, it probably means that this soil is not ideal for potato. "It's too expensive. ... “I know how to grow potatoes!” Damon declares proudly. The book and the movie differ on this part—likely because the process required to make Martian soil suitable for growing potatoes was long and tedious. Jet is fascinated by the Earthie potatoes that the kids have grown in the backyard garden. In the 2015 film The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is stranded on the red planet after his crew leaves him for dead in the wake of a violent dust storm. Can you grow potatoes on Mars? There is a movie called "Martian" that was played by a man named Matt Damon who tries to plant things in lifeless soil. © 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. - YouTube Speaking of … Researchers have selected 65 for the Mars experiment. One of the beautiful things about beans is that if they germinate (which is not always easy), they form a big plant with nice green leaves quite quickly. Now he wants to try to grow potatoes on Mars! "It depends." "It's not just about Mars. The two biggest challenges for growing crops in space are farming in microgravity and the need for a completely closed environment, Bugbee says. Speaking of … It wouldn’t make for riveting cinema. Albert asked. A movie, The Martian was also released last year on the existence of life in the Red Planet. NASA does have Mars colonization on its radar screen. "So when we water it, it gets very compact. Bugbee says the science isn't there yet to show how well someone would do surviving on such a monotonous diet for so long, but he doesn't see why Watney couldn't get by. Their center is home to the world's largest gene bank of potatoes -- 4,000 varieties of potatoes and 8,000 types of sweet potatoes. In Andy Weir’s novel-turned-Matt-Damon-movie The Martian, the protagonist endures the harsh terrain of Mars by using his own shit to grow potatoes. However, there were also a few inaccuracies… The Martian , an American space thriller starring Matt Damon, was released in 2015 and garnered popular attention all over the world. Directed by Ridley Scott. “When I watched that movie, I started thinking, ‘What if we could grow potatoes in outer space?’” she said. Because of Watney's love/hate relationship with potatoes and his proud status of 'Botanist' real life person Chris Martine named a new type of bush tomato after him, the Solanum Watneyi . 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