This Potato Can Grow on Mars and May Help Solve World Hunger

Scientists in Peru have discovered a strain of potato that can grow and thrive in Mars’ harsh conditions
We’ll soon be able to bring the plot of ‘The Martian’ to life.

Screenshot: The Martian with Matt Damon

We’ll soon be able to bring the plot of ‘The Martian’ to life.

With hunger problems broiling on Earth, scientists are looking to the stars for answers. The International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, has discovered a strain of potato that can withstand the harsh atmospheric conditions on Mars to grow and thrive on the Red Planet.

Researchers tested 65 varieties of potato in a small room nicknamed the “Mars-in-a-box” that mimics the climate and atmospheric conditions found on Mars. Only four types of potato survived, but one variety actually thrived, and it’s been dubbed the “Unique Potato.”

“The extraordinary efforts of the team have set the bar for extraterrestrial farming,” NASA Ames planetary scientist Chris McKay about the project told Foodbeast. “The idea of growing food for human colonies in space could be a reality very soon.”

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The project has an important side effect: It draws attention to the important role the potato could play in combating world hunger. Potatoes are incredibly tough and stick it out even in difficult climate conditions (like those on the Red Planet).