A Canadian research team at the University of Guelph in southern Ontario is working on a methodology for growing plants using LEDs, which would lead to scientists and farmers being able to one day grow crops on Mars. Right now the team is working on growing a strawberry or cherry tomato plant in Martian territory (focusing on this produce in particular because they are relatively high-value fruit crops).
(CBC)This diagram from the researchers show how differently crops behave under different light wavelengths.
“Over the next few hundred years,” Mike Dixon, a professor and chair of University of Guelph's environmental biology department, where the research is being conducted told the CBC, “[w]e will be marching around on Mars and exploring Mars on a large scale… and we will need life support systems based on plant biology, because you can't resupply Mars with groceries very efficiently."
The technology is still years away from action, and right now the researchers are looking at the most efficient light wavelength combination that would work for producing the most (and tastiest) fruits and vegetables. Within decades, said Dixon, astronauts and space explorers could be eating real produce in space.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi