Crops grown on Martian soil have been deemed safe to eat

China Mars exploration
Creative Commons
When we finally manage to make our way off of planet Earth and onto Mars, rest assured that we won’t have to sustain ourselves on dehydrated astronaut meals (like those not so enjoyed by Scott Kelly during his record-setting tenure in space). Instead, we’ll be able to grow crops in Martian soil. And we know this because we’ve already done it here on Earth. Dutch scientists have managed to grow crops, including four vegetables and cereals, in soil “similar to that on Mars,” and have deemed it safe to eat.

Sure, it’s not actually soil straight from the source, but it does contain many of the same elements as what might be found on the red planet. And not only were scientists able to grow crops, but they were able to grow them “abundantly.” Radishes, peas, rye, and tomatoes were all harvested in the course of the latest experiment, and contained “no dangerous levels” of heavy metals, according to the team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

“These remarkable results are very promising,” senior ecologist Wieger Wamelink noted of the results. “We can actually eat the radishes, peas, rye and tomatoes, and I am very curious what they will taste like.”

Scientists have actually been trying to emulate agriculture on Mars since 2013, and over the last three years, have raised 10 different crops. And while those grown on Martian soil on Earth are safe to eat, it’s unclear if plants actually grown on Mars would be consumable — after all, it’s unclear as to whether or not these crops would absorb heavy metals like cadmium, copper, and lead.

“It’s important to test as many crops as possible, to make sure that settlers on Mars have access to a broad variety of different food sources,” said Wamelink.

And more tests will soon be carried out on six more crops, including potatoes, to determine their viability on Mars. Researchers say they will be turning to a crowdsourcing campaign for the funds needed to sustain their work, and if I were a betting woman, I’d bet that people would be more than happy to chip in to improve their Martian descendants’ future diets.

NASA has ambitious plans for a trip to Mars within the next decade or so, and of course, Elon Musk has also expressed interest in colonizing Mars. And if we want to enjoy our time on the red planet when we get there, we better have some delicious produce to eat.

Deals

You can grab the 2017 12-inch MacBook for $300 off right now, but act quickly

Despite the growing market for Windows ultrabooks, a MacBook is still what you need if you love the sleek interface of MacOS. The 2017 MacBook is on sale right now, too, but stock is limited, so act quickly before it's gone.
Smart Home

A new survey by Adobe shows an evolving market for voice applications

A new consumer survey conducted by Adobe Analytics has uncovered a growing desire for more diversity in voice-controlled applications and devices as well as growing engagement with voice ads.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets

The Very Large Telescope is growing even bigger. The latest addition to the telescope's suite of instruments is a tool called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region) which will hunt for exoplanets in the nearby Alpha Centauri star…
Movies & TV

Best new podcasts: Two Princes, Adulting, Man in the Window, and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a modern fairytale, growing up, the Golden State Killer, and Stonewall at 50.
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Pass the salt please: Table salt found on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Astronomers have spotted something unexpectedly familiar on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa -- sodium chloride, better known as table salt. This suggests the under-ice oceans on Europa are salty and similar to our oceans on Earth.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Emerging Tech

Tormented robot pulls a gun on its creators in latest Boston Dynamics spoof

Boston Dynamics' remarkable robots often receive a good few shoves in its videos, and the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of L.A.-based video artists to give its rather amusing take on the matter.