Potatoes for Mars #Mars #NASA #space #science

A few of the many potato varieties

A few of the many potato varieties

Who knew there’s an International Potato Center? There is – in Peru. They’re teaming with NASA to grow potatoes in soil taken from the Atacama Desert. Peru has 4,000 varieties of potatoes to choose from.

[Like Mars, Atacama soil has] extremely low levels of microorganisms and organic material as well as high levels of oxidizing chemical elements. For these reasons, the soils in Atacama have been used as analogous to Mars in research scenarios.

They’ll freeze the potatoes they grow and try to revive them. Is it possible The Martian could have revived his frozen potatoes? That would have made life on Mars a lot more comfortable.

Eventually, NASA wants to grow potatoes in zero gravity, in an enclosed atmosphere inside a CubeSat in space. Then, someday, in an enclosed greenhouse on Mars.

Growing potatoes for Mars will teach us about feeding people on Earth, too.

We see the science, educational, and humanitarian goals as being intertwined. In the process of working together toward establishing a community on Mars, our students will also be establishing a community on Earth.

Science fiction has settled on the potato for Mars colonists. I’d like to see NASA confirm that guess.

GLORY Ebook 300 dpiEat like a Martian – at least, like a scifi Martian:

fish supper
mealworm snack
practice for Mars on Earth
Banana beer from Born on Mars
And Liz, in Glory on Mars, tries to make bhang, though she doesn’t have all the ingredients.

Thanks to scientificamerican.com, Eureka Alert eurekalert.org, and other outlets.


If Destiny Takes You to Mars, Beware – the Planet is Deadly #poetry #science #space #Mars

Spirit Rover views rocks on Mars

Spirit Rover views rocks on Mars

There could be solar flares
on the journey there,
Don’t forget crash landings
could happen, to be fair.

Water’s on the surface
but in a frozen brine.
Assume that you can boil out
enough to drink in time.

The atmosphere is toxic
but there is more to heed.
It’s less than one percent
of the pressure that you need.

Besides the lack of atmosphere,
no magnetic force surrounds,
So cosmic radiation
will force you underground.

Orange dust will be the bane
of your solar collectors,
Of moving parts and human lungs,
And of your airlock doors.

If your heating system fails
you will likely freeze,
And if you find your thumb’s not green,
Starvation adds to these.

You better hope you like your fellows
and avoid some fights.
It would be a shame to kill
each other in the night.

Your life’s a tough routine,
Your dangers aren’t a thrill.
Mars is unrelenting.
With its slow motion kill.

You’ve missed the deadline to apply to NASA’s astronaut program for Mars! GLORY eBook COVER OCT2017But, maybe that’s okay. cnet.com/au/news

Join science fiction Mars colonists in my On Mars series. Colonists find all the dangers as they explore and build a home on Mars.

Latest Group of Martians Finish Their Mission #Mars #space #explore

Mars Society domeCould you live for eight months in a dome – about the size of two two-car garages stacked one on top of the other – sealed in with five coworkers? You’d be monitored via surveillance cameras and body-movement trackers. You’d have email and internet, but with a twenty minute lag (makes my rural-America internet look great!) You’d have some work to do outside your dome, but you’d have to wear a space suit.

Sound like a new reality show?

It’s a NASA Mars Analog – the third mission ended recently. They’re learning what makes life more bearable – I noticed a few recipe contests – and what personality traits go into the best teams.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa leads this study, with support from team members at Cornell University, Michigan State University, Arizona State University, University of South Florida, the University of Maryland, the Institutes for Behavior Resources, Smart Information Flow Technologies, Blue Planet Foundation, and from the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES). http://hi-seas.org/

NASA’s not the only outfit worried about the technical and psychological problems that may assault the first humans on the Red Planet. The Mars Society has run over a dozen short Mars simulations.

Not all the obstacles can be tested on Earth: not the effects of low gravity, invasive dust, and the fact that no one can help you – at least, not for a long time. But we can study the social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors that affect teams. Biosphere Two tried a two-year experiment and that team had numerous interpersonal conflicts.

Of course, eight months may not be long enough to simulate what it will be like to be a Martian. Some volunteers are ready to spend the rest of their lives on Mars. It will be difficult and dangerous. Would you go?

Happy #NewYear :) #NewYear2016

fireworksHere’s wishing you a safe and prosperous 2016. Thanks for the reads, the likes, and the comments. I love hearing from you.


For your New Year’s Day feast, eat like a Martian:
fish supper
mealworm snack
practice for Mars on Earth
Banana beer from Born on Mars
And Liz, in Glory on Mars, tries to make bhang, though she doesn’t have all the ingredients.