Meet the extra-terrestrial aquaponics pioneer

Former salmon farmer Dr. Carl Mazur aims to design an aquaponics system that could one day be used on Mars. In the meantime, he aims to use it to produce high-value fish and flowers on Earth.

His aquaculture experience is primarily with saltwater salmon production on the east and west coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. There, he gained hands-on experience immediately after graduation from McGill University with a degree in marine biology. "This was in the mid-1980s and the issues we had with fish loss due to bacterial kidney disease at the time lead me to pursue a master's and then a Ph.D. at UBC, focused on the effects of rearing and environmental fish stressors on their immune systems and disease susceptibility."

"The reason for migrating a short step from aquaculture to aquaponics is that I feel aquaponics is more holistic in that a well-conceived aquaponic system can essentially be near-closed and self-sustaining. Aquaponics systems today do need external input in the form of fish feed which then provides carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous (and other trace elements) for plant growth. The next step in closing the loop will be to produce fish feed from the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous delivered from the system in the form of human food, fish offal and the inedible stem and root plant products."

"The simple premise behind developing an aquaponic system for use on Mars [as part of the Terra-Mars project] is that a system advanced enough to be on Mars will be able to grow food anywhere on Earth, with modifications. The ultimate goal is to have a system that can provide food security for any environment on Earth and thereby end the suffering that still occurs in some developing countries. Having the ambitious goal of developing a food production system for Mars should provide ample PR exposure which can then be leveraged to promote the project and help to carry it forward."

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