Vegetable growing possible on Mars and the Moon - study

Scientists have successfully grown vegetables and other crops in simulated lunar and martian soil. 

The research was conducted by a team of scientists at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, with the aim of finding out if crop growth was possible.

"If humans are going to establish a base on the Moon or on Mars, they will have to grow their own crops," said the study published in the Open Agriculture journal.

Researchers used simulated lunar and Martian regolith from NASA mixed with some organic matter to test a range of crops.

The scientists grew a range of seedlings.
The scientists grew a range of seedlings. Photo credit: Supplied/Wageningen University

"Moon regolith has been brought back to Earth, but we have yet to bring back soil from Mars, so the team used NASA's Mars simulated soils."

Ten different crops, garden cress, rocket, tomato, radish, rye, quinoa, spinach, chives, pea and leek were sown in random lines in trays.

"Nine of the ten species grew well with the exception of spinach. It was possible to harvest edible parts for nine out of ten crops."

"In this limited preliminary experiment, we show that crop growth on Mars and Moon soil simulants is possible."