NASA says a simple greenhouse will allow astronauts to grow food on Mars

When NASA announced Monday it had uncovered the strongest evidence for flowing water on Mars, most of the collective attention (rightfully) centered on the increasing odds of also finding signs of life. After all, water is one of life’s most important building blocks so if NASA continues to “follow the water,” as John Grunsfeld put it Monday, chances are extremely likely the Red Planet has the capability to sustain living things. However, it was something else Grunsfeld said which is arguably just as important as finding life. In a response to a telephoned media question, Grunsfeld acknowledged the presence of water ultimately allows future astronaut missions to grow living, sustainable crops. Mark Watney just gasped.

After fielding the question about whether Mars could sustain Earth crops, Grunsfeld was quick to point out the planet’s relative altitude — three times the height of Mount Everest — would desiccate any living crops planted on its surface. He did, however, posit that future Martian astronauts would have the ability to construct small, inflatable greenhouses that would be highly pressurized. With the help of the planet’s apparent water, as well as the abundance of carbon dioxide for plant’s to create oxygen with, maintaining living crops on Mars isn’t as far fetched as this sentence would’ve sounded just last week.

“You’d have a challenge growing plants on the surface of Mars, even with some extreme genetic engineering,” said Grunsfeld, “but certainly you could build inflatable or small greenhouses with high pressure, and if there’s a lot of water on Mars you could then use that water to grow plants inside the greenhouse.”

While there remains many years of research and development before a team of astronauts actually makes the journey to Mars, NASA’s recent findings give it some revolutionary footing to work with. Grunsfeld stated earlier in the press conference he hoped an expedition to Mars would happen sooner rather than later and once it did, science would be at the forefront of the mission.

In light of NASA’s findings of water on Mars, he feels it’s even more critical to send planetary scientists and astrobiologists to the Red Planet to continue the agency’s search for life. With an apparent solution in the works for solving the riddle of cultivating and maintaining Martian resources, it seems likely Grunsfeld’s wish to get there quickly won’t be hard to fulfill.

Smart Home

This super-cool tiny home with a living wall lived at the UN this summer

This tiny home is a collaboration between Yale University and Gray Organschi Architecture that can potentially be produced for less than $50,000 and assembled on site within three days.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Emerging Tech

Meet the 4K selfie drone that folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.