NASA Researchers Discover Rice Can Grow on Mars if Toxic Soil Chemical is Eliminated
NASA researchers have discovered that rice can potentially grow on Mars, but only if scientists can find a way to eliminate a toxic chemical called perchlorate from the soil.
The soil on Mars contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which are important nutrients for growing crops.
However, the presence of perchlorate in the soil makes it toxic to plants.
To test the viability of rice growth on Mars, scientists simulated Martian soil using volcanic soil from Hawaii and added the necessary nutrients.
They found that rice could grow, but the shoots and roots were smaller and weaker.
When perchlorate was added, they were unable to grow normal rice.
However, if the chemical was reduced, they were able to grow the rice.
Scientists believe that genetic modification could be used to make the rice withstand perchlorate.
The two ways to eliminate perchlorate are through water or introducing bacteria that can eat it.
The discovery is a significant step towards farming food in space, which may become necessary one day.