Growing Potatoes on Mars

growing potatoes
Have you seen the movie The Martian yet – it’s the one where Matt Damon is this astronaut, botanist guy who travels to Mars. While he is there he manages to grow potatoes on Mars.

Now this got me thinking – Why would he? Should we bother? Do we need to? Would they taste the same? And could this be the next epic collaboration for Hunky Dory’s – Mars Bar flavour crisps!! Only kidding!

Seriously though. Did you know this year  –  2016 is the United Nations International Year of Soil!

soil growing seeds

Soil is created when glaciers, wind and other elements slowly transform rock materials into something softer and more fertile. Scientists say it takes about 200-400 years for 1 cm of soil to be formed. (WOW)

We have a little problem though and this is why Watney in the movie had to suss out Mars as an option for us. The world is doing some terrible things to soil like  global warming, slashing and burning farm land,pollution and deforestation in the Amazon (ripping out all the trees). All of this damage to the soil will one day stop us from producing good, real delicious food.

So what did Watney (Damon) do while he was on Mars – some kinda cool and  some kinda gross stuff to be honest!


He made water from rocket fuel  – very cool!

He then used this water to rehydrate freeze dried human faeces ( poo !!! ) ( eeewww!!!)  to use as a fertiliser on the soil to make the potatoes sprout and grow. – very gross!

Human and animal poo has nitrogen which helps the crops to grow.

Ok, Ok, so right now there must be a better way than going to Mars to grow spuds right!?

How about we just mind and protect what we have here on Earth – lets look after the soil we have right now and maybe, like recycle and reuse the water we have and not waste food – try and use it all up!


Simples, eh ?