Mars Exchange
Food for Mars: Pig Slurry As Manure

Food for Mars: Pig Slurry As Manure

by Natasha Schön on Friday, 3rd November 2017 in Food for Mars

In our latest experiment with the earthworms, some of the pots received a large helping of pig slurry. The slurry is manure for the plants, not for the worms. We use it instead of human feces, and should have a direct effect on the growth of the rucola (rocket). But is it working, and why did we choose pig slurry?

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Food for Mars: Will Worms survive the Martian and Lunar soils?

Food for Mars: Will Worms survive the Martian and Lunar soils?

by Natasha Schön on Tuesday, 8th August 2017 in Food for Mars, People, Wieger Wamelink

One of the obvious key requirements for the use of worms on Mars and the moon will be their ability to survive in the ‘local’ regolith (soil). Not outside on the surface, swept by cosmic radiation, cold and without much of an atmosphere, but indoors in the safety of a dome. However, the regoliths may still pose threats, one of them being the sharp edges of the minerals. The first of our two pilot experiments was just about investigating if these sharp edged sand particles may harm the worms, because when the worms eat they swallow and mix together dead plant material with the soil (which is actually why they are so important to the process of creating healthy soils). 

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Earthworms for Mars: chew where no worm has chewed before.

Earthworms for Mars: chew where no worm has chewed before.

by Natasha Schön on Wednesday, 28th June 2017 in Food for Mars, People, Wieger Wamelink

Those who have seen the movie ‘ Dune’ from David Lynch may be able to imagine what we are currently trying to accomplish: growing worms on Mars or the moon. The worms we are going to use are a bit smaller and a lot less violent than those in the movie, although they have creepy names like Lumbricus terrestris or Eisenia fetida. They can be found everywhere in the soil - the first pilot experiments were carried with worms from my own garden! But why worms?

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Living in Space: Lab Day at Border Sessions Conference

Living in Space: Lab Day at Border Sessions Conference

by Natasha Schön on Friday, 23rd June 2017 in STEM, Technology

People in both the private and governmental industry alike have set their sights on expanding humanity beyond Earth’s orbit. Hence, human settlements in our solar system may become feasible within decades. Some of the key questions surrounding our expansion into space are: How will people live in space and what kind of work will they do? How will they entertain themselves and how will they protect themselves against the dangers in space or other heavenly bodies? How will poeple use the resources in space to support the small settlements that will eventually grow in to large communities? This was the main focus of the Border Sessions Lab day on June 28th 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands. 

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