It looks like a good start! A team from Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) has succeeded in growing a beautiful and very resistant plant, ryegrass, in soil similar to that found on Mars. Called ‘Martian regolith’ or MMS-1, it is composed of basaltic material simulating the chemical and mechanical properties of the soil on the Red Planet.
Despite some signs of stress, the ryegrass grew for a fortnight, even withstanding its first mowing. Genetic analysis revealed changes that allowed the plant to adapt and survive.
The results improve the understanding of plant growth on MMS-1, which will not only be useful for the development of a Martian vegetable garden, but also for oxygen production and planning for possible construction work – all with the important goal of one day extending the human presence in the universe.