Mars Exchange
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). 

Read more

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?

Read more

The first science prize of the Dutch children’s program ‘Het Klokhuis’ goes to…

The first science prize of the Dutch children’s program ‘Het Klokhuis’ goes to…

by Suzanne Flinkenflögel on Thursday, 9th February 2017 in Food for Mars, People, Wieger Wamelink, STEM

Dr. ir. Wieger Wamelink, a Mars One adviser, is a senior ecologist at Wageningen Environmental Science at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands). He has made significant scientific contributions to the understanding of the possibilities of using Martian soil for food production on Mars, a key component of the Mars One mission. He has written several blog posts about his Food for Mars research for Mars Exchange. In this most recent publication, Wamelink writes about winning a Dutch Children's Science Award.

"‘I am going to enlist you, unless you demur before the end of the day.’ I found this short e-mail from one of our press officers on a morning in my inbox....

Read more

Food for Mars: Green beans and potatoes

Food for Mars: Green beans and potatoes

by Natasha Schön on Tuesday, 19th July 2016 in Food for Mars, People, Wieger Wamelink

The first phase of the experiment is now well underway and the current main star is the green bean. One of the beautiful things about beans is that if they germinate (which is not always easy), they form a big plant with nice green leaves quite quickly. The germination on the Mars and moon simulant was excellent and often three out of three sown seeds germinated. Only one of the earth control pots showed no germination at all, and this pot was replaced by a spare. Part of the beans seemed to have an identity crisis. The package that they came from clearly stated low growing beans. Nevertheless, some of them are forming long shoots reaching out to Mars and the moon. We had to put a stick in each pot in order to support them. This also included the pots with plants that were not growing shoots, otherwise the sticks may influence the outcome of the experiment. At this moment, the beans are flowering abundantly and some of them have already small beans, whic means that the first harvest is imminent. Who will join us for dinner? This is the fifteenth post in a blog series about experiments conducted by a team of ecologists and crop scientists of Wageningen UR. The goal of these experiments is a proof of concepts for providing the first (human) Martians with ‘own-grown’ fresh food. Make sure to read our earlier blog posts!

Read more

« Previous Articles
Sign up for our Newsletter Close