US (FL): Researcher awarded $50,000 grant to study food production in space

Making it to Mars may still be years away, but scientists already know survival won’t be easy. A local researcher is studying what food we’ll be able to grow on Mars and new funding is expanding the work.

Dr. Andrew Palmer studies food production on the moon and on Mars. With a $50,000 grant from The Planetary Society, his team will start more research projects at Florida Tech, growing vegetables in space-like conditions. He says the goal is to figure out what methods are best suited for different plants.

"Hydroponics is great, and regolith – growing in the dirt is great. What we’re trying to figure out, instead of saying it’s going to be one or the other," Palmer, an associate professor of biological sciences, said. "We want to figure out – what are the best plants to grow on the moon in a hydroponic rig?"

He says when settlers do eventually make it to Mars, they’ll have to grow food in caves or indoor spaces.


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