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What will we eat on Mars?

In a thought-provoking study entitled "Feeding One Million People on Mars," Kevin Cannon and Daniel Britt of the University of Central Florida, looked at the resource utilisation and technical strategies required to make Mars self-sufficient for a million people. 

Based on the model, Cannon and Britt determined that food self-sufficiency for one million Martians could be achieved within 100 years - although the diet would consist predominantly of plants, insect protein and "cellular agriculture", such as algae and vat-grown meat.

The atmosphere on Mars is not exactly conducive to agriculture. All plants would need to be grown indoors (or underground) so that the light and atmosphere can be strictly controlled. Martian farming will also favour plants (probably genetically modified) that require little water, a small footprint, and a high yield.

What is interesting in the report, is that it is clear that Mars' limitations and constraints lead to food production practices that would turn out to be more sustainable on Earth.

Link to related article: www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/space.2019.0018

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