The biggest question in order now that we are preparing to colonize the planet is what are we going to eat on the Red Planet?
At the moment, preparations are on the table for missions that will send humans to Mars in about a decade. However, what would people eat once they get there?
Once humanity puts foot on Mars for good, the biggest challenge will be generating a steady food supply. The costs of resupplying resources from Earth are enormous, making it highly impractical.
With this in mind, people will have to find a way to achieve sustainable agriculture on the Red Planet, and the recent discovery of liquid water on Mars might help.
This latest discovery raises the possibility of using such supplies to help grow food, but we can’t be sure yet if it’s going to work just as well as on Earth. Moreover, water is just one of the many resources people will need to grow enough food.
What will food be like on Mars?
Previous work and studies suggest the use of microbes as a source of food the Red Planet. Another option regards the use of hydroponic greenhouses and controlled environmental systems, which are very similar to the ones on board the ISS that are currently being tested.
Synthetic biology combines principles from engineering, DNA science and computer science among many other fields. It aims to impart new and improve functions to living organisms.
At the moment, we can read DNA, design biological systems and even engineer whole organisms, and yeast is the one currently being re-engineered by an international consortium.
We have gone so far that precision genetic engineering and automation can be merged into automated robotic facilities which are also known as biofoundries. These can test millions of DNA designs and compare them so that we can find the ones that we need.
Mars is very different from Earth, so we must see if the colonization is, in fact, a sustainable idea. Tell us your opinion on the subject in the comments below!