The world is gradually tolerating the truth that humans might, one day, be compelled to move from Earth and search for a territory elsewhere in space. Furthermore, as our space investigation assembles speed, so does our comprehension of our neighbors in space. In the most recent in this series of improvements, a group of scientists saw the introduction of worms in Mars-like soil conditions during a lab experiment.
Earthworms are capable of reproducing in a Mars-like environment, as per recent investigation, a crucial revelation that guides research into developing yields on Mars. Two youth earthworms are the first creatures to be born in Mars-like soil conditions. The worms could be critical for a garden-like ecosystem in the event that we ever need to build up a Martian settlement.
The discovery was made when biologist Wieger Wamelink found a pair of young worms in a simulated Mars soil sample from NASA; At the start, he only added adult worms, indicating they had successfully reproduced in the sample. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive on the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils.
Nasa’s soil simulant originates from a volcano on Hawaii and Dr Wamelink has been growing rocket in it to which worms have been added – along with pig slurry that mimics human waste. The worms also act as natural irrigation systems by digging burrows. This helps aerate and improve the structure of the soil, making watering the plants more effective.
“Clearly the manure stimulated growth, especially in the Mars soil simulant, and we saw that the worms were active,” said lead researcher and biologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.
Nowadays biologists are able to grow over a dozen crops, though some have proven more difficult to grow (ahem, I’m looking at you, spinach). However, crops such as green beans, peas, radish, tomato, potato, rucola, carrot and garden cress have all been successful. If the overall quality of the ecosystem can also be improved, a Martian garden might not be so far after all.
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