London, January 4: A British–led group is planning to grow lettuce on the Red Planet for future dwellers, media reports said. The plan has been proposed by a group of students at Southampton University to send a greenhouse from the Earth with lettuce seeds, water, nutrients and systems for atmospheric processing and monitoring. Under the project, called #LettuceOnMars, the greenhouse would be launched from the Earth with lettuce seeds, water, nutrients, and systems for atmospheric processing and electronic monitoring.
“To live on other planets, we need to grow food there. No one has ever actually done this and we intend to be the first,” Suzan Lucarotti from Southampton University was quoted as saying. If the plans are approved, lettuce could be sent to the Red Planet as early as 2018, as part of the Mars One mission to establish a human settlement there in 2025. Following a safe landing, the Mars One lander will start to supply power and heating elements to maintain a temperature between 21 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius.
Carbon dioxide, which is essential for plant life, would be extracted from the Martian atmosphere and processed before entering the growth chamber. The lettuce would then be grown without soil, and would be regularly sprayed with water and nutrients. (IANS)